Communities brace for another round of possible PG&E outages

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(KTXL) — Residents in Sierra foothill counties who are being threatened with another Pacific Gas and Electric power outage were none too happy about the prospect of losing electricity just two weeks after the last one. It was trial by fire two weeks ago when businesses either had to close down or try to deal with an electrical outage that caught them flat-footed. This time around, they were taking the latest PG&E alert to heart. Wani Ocanas got three text warnings by noon Tuesday. Ocanas owns Mystic Mix, a combination taco shop and retail store in Placerville. She lost a lot of money when she had to close up for four days during the last outage. She said she is ready to move her perishables in case the power goes out Wednesday. “I’ve two coolers back there ready, pack ‘em up and throw them in the car tonight and if it doesn’t happen, it’s easy enough to bring the coolers back,” Ocanas said. Business may have been booming Tuesday, but PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoffs have been costly for some gas stations. A Shell gas station lost several days of business during the last outage and owners are still trying to locate a generator to keep it going. The manager of the Sierra Super Stop 76 station said the store lost tens of thousands of dollars when the power was out for three days near the start of the month. This time, they’re renting a generator.
During the last outage, El Dorado County resident Mike Orme had to siphon gas from his pick-up truck to keep his generator going. This time, he wants to be ready for a lengthy outage. “Those two cans, this can, and I had to fill up the red one again,” Orme said. Placerville residents Chris and Larry Johnson were caught off guard two weeks ago but were ready Tuesday. “We couldn’t find a generator anywhere so we had to go to Lake Tahoe just to get a generator,” said Larry Johnson. “My husband’s going to put the generator up, bring all the extension cords in, so when it goes out we can plug in the refrigerator, and the TVs and the computer. So we’ll be ready,” said Chris Johnson. And so were the boys at the Bowtie Barbershop. Last time, they set up shop with a generator right out on Main Street, which actually brought them visibility and more business. On Tuesday, they got another street permit with fees waived by the city. “We’re ready, we’re ready to go,” said one of the barbers. “We got the generator, we got the crew, we got the chairs, we got the equipment, we got the motivation and the muscles.” Of course, they all had the realization that things were out of their hands and in PG&E’s. One thing everyone seemed to agree on was down the road, there needs to be a better way of dealing with the threat of wildfire than turning off power to thousands of people.


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