PG&E’s power shut-offs could impact Sierra tourism

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NORDEN, Calif. (KTXL) -- Pacific Gas and Electric’s planned power shut-offs are creating problems for many in the Sierras as temperatures are expected to drop below freezing.

At Sugar Bowl Resort Tuesday, there was weather many in the local ski business have been waiting for.

“First rainfall in a while that I’ve seen. Yeah, so it’s really nice and we could use a refill in the snowmaking pond,” said Jon Slaughter, who is the director of marketing and sales for Sugar Bowl.

With temperatures expected to drop into the 20s overnight, this is the time for them to be making snow. But Slaughter said they won't be able to run the snowmaking machines without power.

PG&E has sent Sugar Bowl a warning that it could cut power due to high winds expected across Northern California.

“But they’ve never given us a definitive date for sure that we’re going to lose power,” Slaughter told FOX40.

While the resort is remaining optimistic it won’t lose power, others who live in nearby Serene Lakes were not happy they could have to live through another power shut-off -- only this time in colder temperatures.

“Normally I turn on my electric blanket but we won’t have that,” said Serene Lakes resident Cathy Pearson. “So, we just bundle up. We have lots of quilts.”

Pearson works for a vacation home rental agency and told FOX40 homeowners are concerned they could lose income. Most of the cabins in the area get rented out this time of year and few vacationers want to pay to stay in a house without electricity.

Without snowmaking, there also won't be a lot of skiers or snowboarders.

“PG&E has taken a lot of profits over the years for their shareholders and for their high officials in the company and they have not put it back in to deferred maintenance,” Pearson said. “And they should have been taking care of their lines and now we are the ones who are going to have to pay for it.”

Opening day at Sugar Bowl is projected for Nov. 29, which is Black Friday, but the power outages could change that. They plan to be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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