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Millions of homes could lose electricity to California blackouts this summer because of fire danger. This is because bankrupt utility company Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) plans to shut power off on high-wind days.
The hope is that turning off electricity will prevent downed electrical lines from sparking destructive wildfires, Bloomberg reports. In fact, electricity could be off for up to a week in some areas, California Governor Gavin Newsom (D-San Francisco) claims.
“We’re worried about it because we could see people’s power shut off not for a day or two but potentially a week,” Newsom tells reporters. In addition, PG&E warns that the city of Calistoga could lose electricity up to 15 times this summer.
Moreover, PG&E plans to set up dozens of “resiliency centers” containing backup generators that will run essential services. However, PG&E vice president of electric operations, Aaron Johnson, does not say where his company will locate the centers.
City Explores Backup Power
In fact, Calistoga mayor Chris Canning is investigating the possibility of installing backup power for his city. To explain, the backup power will take the form of microgrids, which provide power to a few homes, buildings, or businesses.
Notably, the Calistoga microgrids will use batteries and solar panels like those that Elon Musk and Tesla provide. For instance, Tesla builds Powerwall backup power systems for homes and Powerpack backup power systems for cities.
In fact, Tesla’s Powerpacks will provide backup power for a commuter train system in Osaka, Japan, Electrek reports. Consequently, backup power systems will have no problem powering your home or business during blackouts. The Tesla Powerpack and Powerwall even use the same lithium-ion battery technology as Tesla’s electric cars.
Power Outage Cripples City
PG&E crippled Calistoga last year by turning off the power, Bloomberg reveals. Streetlights went dark at the time and gas pumps would not work either.
As a result, it could be a smart idea to buy an electric vehicle such as a Tesla Model X SUV or a Rivian R1T pickup truck. This is because a person with a solar-powered system and an electric vehicle could drive when the gas pumps are down.
Moreover, a family with an electric vehicle could evacuate fast in an emergency. This would be true even if no gasoline or diesel fuel is available. So, backup power systems could provide power when you have to evacuate because of catastrophes like wildfires.
Wildfires Bankrupt Utilities
Pacific Gas & Electric is bankrupt because of disastrous wildfires last year. In fact, lawsuits blame PG&E for starting deadly infernos such as the Camp Fire.
To explain, the lawsuits allege that PG&E did not maintain its grid, thereby making power lines more likely to fall during high winds. The falling power lines, in turn, sparked fires because of vast amounts of dry brush in California. The brush, meanwhile, is already dry because of record high temperatures in California.
On the whole, PG&E is facing $30 billion in lawsuits it cannot pay off, Bloomberg maintains. Predictably, though, PG&E declared bankruptcy in January to avoid paying the lawsuits.
In essence, Californians will have to fear both blackouts and deadly mega-fires this summer. People could certainly die as well since wildfires killed 123 people during the last 18 months alone.
Fire Destroys City And Cripples Power Grid
State officials have confirmed that PG&E equipment failures are responsible for the Camp Fire, the most deadly & destructive fire in California history.
The Camp Fire killed 85 people and destroyed 19,000 structures along with the entire town of Paradise in November 2018, according to The San Jose Mercury News. California forestry officials now fear a similar mega-fire this summer.
In short, Californians must prepare for wildfires and blackouts this summer and do so immediately. The situation in California proves that Americans can no longer rely on the stability of the electric grid or other utilities.
You may also enjoy reading an additional Off The Grid News article: Texas Electricity Shortage Predicted This Summer As Power Grid Strains To Its Limit
Or download our free 28-page report on the top 9 threats to the power grid: Black Out
Do you think that summer fires will lead to California blackouts? Let us know in the comments below.