AMADOR COUNTY (CBS13) — Getting ready for a big change is never easy.
“I mean how can you be truly prepared?” Denise Konz said.
But the PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoffs are starting to become routine for some in Amador County.
“We’ve already seen PG&E going up the hill to turn off the PG&E I’m sure,” Sandra Thomas said. “I have a class at the church tomorrow and they’ve already canceled that.”
The utility said it’s adapting for this current shutoff after learning previous shutoffs.
“So every PSPS situation is unique, right? So we are looking at a combination of things,” Brandi Merlo, PG&E Spokesperson, said. “In this case, we’re definitely looking at the wind speeds as well as humidity levels.”
The shutoff that started on Wednesday at around 2 p.m. in the Sierra Foothills will impact 17 counties and 179,000 customers. Some feel the shutoffs are unnecessary.
“If PG&E would’ve maintained their equipment properly instead of giving all of their executives bonuses, we may not be in the situation that we are in,” Tom Reese said.
“I wish they could be more granular about it and not have to turn off a wide amount of people,” Tom Trafzer said.
PG&E told CBS13 it’s made improvements to its website, which crashed in the last shutoff, and to the call center so it can handle more traffic.
“We’re also looking to further sectionalize customers in these areas,” Merlo said.“So that we can really just impact the customers that need to be impacted.”
But some are still worried about these shutoffs being their new normal.
“Ten years of this? Not looking forward to it,” Trafzer said.
“I had a mother that was on oxygen and so we worry about that stuff because how are we going to make sure people that have special needs, that their needs are being met?” Konz said.
PG&E said it doesn’t take the decision lightly to do this most recent shutoff.
“We stand by the recent public safety power shutoff that we did,” Merlo said. “We certainly recognize areas where we can make improvements.”
In a press conference Wednesday, the utility said they expect to give the “all-clear” to areas affected by the shutoff by Thursday at noon. At that point, their crews can start inspecting lines and restoring power.
PG&E CEO Bill Johnson said the utility plans to have all power restored to customers before another major wind event hits the region again this weekend. That weather event is expected to be stronger and more widespread than the Oct. 9 event.