PLACERVILLE (CBS13) — Placerville and surrounding areas saw safety outages Wednesday night in their downtown area once again.
The Public Safety Power Shutoffs affected more than 170,000 customers across Northern California.
They got a little help from PGE this go-round, but it was only helping one side of Main Street while the other remained in the dark because of the way the grid is set up.
“Oh my gosh this is a huge hassle,” said Dennis Thomas, who owns Robinson’s Pharmacy.
He showed CBS13 his two generators used to power the computers and refrigerators that house medicine like insulin.
“We have to completely turn our pharmacy upside down. We are able to meet our customer’s needs. They don’t see all the work that’s gone in over the last three days to prepare,” said Thomas.
Thomas says he lost $8,000 in insulin during an outage last year. But as a city councilman, he saw the bigger economic impact downtown this year.
“We lost $20,000 in sales tax revenue this last outage. That was 2 million worth of sales throughout our community here,” said Thomas.
Heidi Mayerhof with the Downtown Association said these outages have been challenging for small businesses who can’t afford a generator.
“One art gallery, they just closed their doors because of the business they have. They can’t operate in the dark and they can’t bring it out on the street,” Mayerhof said.
Many simply closed up shop early when the power was shut off Wednesday afternoon. Some hoped generators brought in by PG&E to power the downtown area would help them stay open, but only one side of the street benefitted. Businesses were glad they had their refrigerator trucks and generators still in place.
“We kept the beer coolers cold,” said Aldred Miller with Placerville Public House.
He had power for what they needed and they have learned to look on the bright side. During the last planned outage, they turned Wednesday night karaoke into candlelight karaoke.
“I called my karaoke guy, One Leg Chuck, and I said, ‘Do you want to do this?’ and he said, ‘I will bring my generator,’” said Miller.
It struck such a chord with customers, they wanted it to become a regularly scheduled event, and they didn’t have to wait long.
“As soon as the power went off people rushed in here,” said Miller.
Trying to make light of a situation that has left many in the dark.
“You can be upset and disgruntled but we decided to embrace it,” he said with a smile.
Some of the businesses brought tables outside to stay open. The city of Placerville waived the fee for encroachment permits to allow this, but we did hear the health department was out inspecting Wednesday night.