Hi! I’m back! You may have heard about a little something they’re calling the Public Safety Power Shut Off (PSPS), which was inflicted on the unsuspecting residents of our huge, underpopulated and underfunded County by Their Satanic Majesties, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E).
Now that you’re up on your California-related acronyms, let’s talk power outage, or outrage, as the local message boards quite appropriately call it.
Out of the literally clear blue sky, PG&E decided that they would cut off the power to millions of people with very little notice or time to prepare. Nor did they deign to tell people which counties or cities would be affected. They did not update their online maps or website (which crashed anyway), or realize that having a website be your prime source of alleged information when there is no power or internet is ridiculous.
Also ridiculous is my landlord receiving a call THREE DAYS after the power went out telling her that there “might” be an outage.
We had no idea how long it would last as it dragged on day after dark, cold day. I had no heat – and the temperature was below freezing on some of the days – and no light on these short days. I was so tired of the cold and dark. I went over to the family estate to shower, recharge my laptop and phone, and use the internet in a vain attempt to find out if or when the outage would ever end. My siblings are wise enough to live off the grid and rely on sun power and their own ingenuity.
Supposedly, the power was shut off because of high winds creating fire risk, but there wasn’t a breath of wind on the Coast and we were nowhere near the places that did have high winds. So there was no reason to do this to us. And the fires that did occur were once again caused by PG&E, just like the ones last year and the year before. They chose to give their shareholders $4.5 billion (yes, that’s “billion”, with a “b”) instead of maintaining equipment, cutting back brush, and burying power lines as they were supposed to do.
Basically, they chose to spend money on executive salaries and bonuses instead of maintaining their equipment and keeping the public safe. They cost the homes and lives of people who lost everything in the fires PG&E caused. Again. They cost us on the Coast thousands of dollars in lost wages, food that rotted in refrigerators, businesses that didn’t have a generator and couldn’t stay open. My cell phone doesn’t work at my house and the landline didn’t work as it usually does in a power outage, so I had no way to communicate with the outside world. If I needed to call 911, I was out of luck.
One of the therapists at the clinic where I work told me that knowledge being withheld and the knowledge that information is being withheld is very traumatic for human beings. And I can honestly say that it is. I was relieved to hear that it wasn’t just me who was traumatized by the ordeal of five days without power.
I still can’t believe it happened. And I think we are all still recovering from it in many ways. Something has to change.
A YEAR AGO: There was power. And family dinner.
FIVE YEARS AGO: There was power. And the Giants were world champions!
TEN YEARS AGO: There was power. Rob Suzy proofed the house after I fell off the sleeping loft. Thank you, Rob!
FIFTEEN YEARS AGO: The power was on. And I was a bad hostess.