Generators a scarce resource as PG&E power shutoffs loom

Local News

AUBURN, Calif. (KTXL) — In his more than 20 years of living near a windy canyon in Auburn, Dennis Kurrell says the constant threat of wildfires shooting up toward his home is always on his mind. 

“Very scary, because you don’t know which direction it may come from,” Kurrell said. “We just like to be prepared all the time.” 

Along with mental preparation, he has also kept defensible space around his home. Kurrell has also gone above and beyond for protection — literally above. 

He installed sprinklers on his roof that can be turned on by hand or with a touch of his phone. 

“There it goes; I can feel it,” Kurrell said. 

He also bought a generator as his power has been turned off in the past. 

“Had to move our frozen food to another location, but that’s just a huge hassle,” Kurrell said. 

Although generators are common in areas prone to fire, getting one is apparently far more difficult than it used to be.

“We have some bigger Hondas on the floor that we try to keep, and these are the last that our distributor even had,” said Wally Brown-Silva, who owns Sierra Saw Power Equipment Center in Auburn.

A sign outside his business tells customers that a manufacturing issue — due to the pandemic — means they might not have the stock they should. 

It is unfortunate timing for many. 

“People are getting ready for PG&E shutoffs,” Brown-Silva said. 

Without many generators to sell, Brown-Silva’s company has turned to fixing existing ones. 

“Kind of created a whole new season for us as far as generator repairs goes. We never saw this many until about two years ago,” Kurrell said. “At one point last year, we probably had 75 generators in here for repair.”

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