PLACERVILLE (CBS13) – As Pacific Gas and Electric plans for their biggest public safety power shutoff event of the year, people in Placerville are preparing too. Thousands could lose power in their homes as soon as Sunday morning.
Those who live in El Dorado County are voicing frustration as they gear up for yet another round of PSPS events, triggering frantic feelings every time.
“I live a quarter a mile away from town – who knew?,” asked Colleen Cranor, who had no idea living so close to Placerville would mean dealing with shut off after shut off. Before, she’d stay in hotels when the power went out. That is until that became too frequent.
“After a while, it just wasn’t cost-efficient,” Cranor said.
It led her to break down and buy an $800 generator last year. She now preps the way many others do — by making sure there’s enough gas to power it. Something Placerville resident Jonathan Fogle is discovering isn’t easy after he just purchased his own generator in recent days.
“You’ve got to make sure you get gas days prior because if you try to get gas tomorrow you’re going to have a hell of a time at the gas station,” Fogle said. Though he appreciates the heads up he’s gotten from the power company regarding the shutoff.
“They’re improving the notice time and so we can be prepared and not scramble at the last minute to get everything ready,” he said.
Preparations come ahead of some of the worst winds the area has seen this year, in an already destructive fire season. CAL FIRE Assistant Deputy Director Daniel Berlant said the High Sierra could face hurricane-style winds. Those winds mixed with dry conditions can move flames fast if a fire sparks.
“The key is going to be if this fire breaks out, we’re going to throw everything we have at it,” Berlant said. Those resources include pre-positioned crews, aircraft at the ready and extra staff on deck.
CAL FIRE urges anyone to be ready to evacuate, even if not in a typical fire zone as embers can travel far. They say the easier it is to leave in an emergency, the better.
The PSPS event begins in parts of the state as early as 10 a.m. on Sunday morning, but more counties will begin to see its effects by Sunday evening. It’s expected to continue through Tuesday.
PG&E said they’ve been able to downsize the number of people impacted by this PSPS event. The number is around 380,000 people. Those in El Dorado County are still on the watch list, but PG&E said they hope when they look at conditions Sunday morning — they may be able to downsize again.
A map of what areas are impacted can be found on PG&E’s website, here.