EL DORADO COUNTY — By Thursday, disgruntled El Dorado County residents were resigned to the fact that they may not have power for several more days, even though the wind event that caused it was over.
The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office told neighbors the process of turning electricity back on would begin at 8 a.m. But officials also said to expect delays because power would be phased back in.
Shelly McCune of Pollock Pines was trying to fill up her pickup truck Thursday but the pumps at the nearby station were not working without electricity. In the back of her truck she had brought gasoline containers for her generator, as well as spoiled meat from her freezer.
“We also have an industrial-size freezer because we do a lot of hunting. So, we have thousands of dollars of meat that could potentially spoil,” she explained.
The traffic lights were out on Main Street in Placerville and restaurants were closed. Customers were turned away at Mel’s Diner all day long and some of the staff were standing by waiting for the power to be restored.
When it is, it will still take time before diners can be served.
“We have to unhook the generators and re-hook up everything from PG&E, we have to get our cooks line all set back up, we have to get our computer systems all back on,” said manager Amy Bazan. “I have my staff on a waiting list so we have about a two-hour time frame.”
Some were prepared for a five-day shutdown or longer.
Many stores remained open, realizing that there were still shoppers. Kids stayed home with schools closed for lack of power.
Generators were the order of the day for many businesses, including the Bowtie Barbershop, which couldn’t tie into the main circuit. The city granted it a quick permit to cut hair outdoors on the street.
“You just make the best of it as you possibly can, you know,” said one barber. “I’m not going to take something as bad when it could actually be good.”
Hangman’s Tree Ice Cream Saloon was also rolling with the punches. To get rid of their inventory, they sold PG&E specials as they served customers in the dark. Their generator could only power a small freezer.
“It’s extremely aggravating,” said Victoria Rivera. “I mean, we can only continue to fill the generator with gas and do the best we possibly can.”
Businesses could only grin and bear it. The town’s iconic hangman landmark was sporting a kite to take advantage of the wind that caused the blackout to begin with.
“This is going to be a new normal and think everyone needs to be prepared for this because it’s going to be happening a lot,” McCune said.
Some residents were noting how there have been heavy winds here before with no thought of shutting off power. It had them asking, why now?
Others said they would gladly put up with the inconvenience if it helps save lives and property.