“PG&E has completely bungled it,” according to Lori Droste, Berkeley City Councilwoman.
Droste’s anger was provoked by the lack of clarity and information about the impending power shutdowns affecting much of northern California, including parts of Berkeley. For example, a PG&E spokesperson told Berkeleyside on Tuesday morning that there was still no decision about shutdowns. Droste and other public officials were hearing that it was certain.
PG&E finally confirmed that there would be a large-scale shutdown at 2 p.m.
When Droste sent an email to constituents about the shutdown, she included a link to PG&E’s own website, where users could find maps to see if their home was affected. But correct links to the website didn’t work. Droste described that as “shocking.”
“For a pleasant midwesterner, I’m extremely livid,” she said. “There was a real lapse in judgment in rolling out this safety protocol.”
The city of Berkeley is advising residents to be prepared for up to six days for both planned and unplanned outages.
Berkeley resident Fred Vogelstein’s tweet was typical of some of the reaction.
Dear customer: We at PGE paid ourselves lavishly for decades and spent zippo maintaining our electric grid. Now it’s caused fires and bankrupted us. We have no more money to make our system safe. So for your own protection we’re just going to shut off your lights.
— Fred Vogelstein (@fvogelstein) October 8, 2019
Berkeleyan Pat Mapps asked on Facebook, “What about health care facilities, pharmacies, grocery stores, banks, ATMs, gasoline stations, hotels (where people might think of staying to have power while this is happening), traffic lights, restaurants, people who need power to stay alive, etc? Will all of these critical resources also be without power?”
Some tweeters took a different stance.
Feeling lucky that my apartment won’t be losing power.
In solidarity with my neighbors who will, I have decided to eat all of the ice cream in my freezer. https://t.co/PpPl1se2ka
— Dan Lurie 🌹✊🏼 (@danjlurie) October 9, 2019
— john (@johnholland) October 8, 2019
Berkeleyan Quentin Hardy provided a different perspective.
I can hate on PG&E with the best, but last year we saw how changing weather makes places drier, winds higher, and fires from downed lines more vicious.
What if PG&E saw the wind forecast, didn't act, and there was a big fire?
We still don't want to see how dire the climate is.
— Quentin Hardy (@qhardy) October 8, 2019
Read more about public safety power shutoff events in Berkeley.