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When Power Company Shuts down due to Fire Risk
#1
Hey Folks

Last year a whole town in northern California (Paradise) burned up due to an electrical fire started by a the power company lines dropping sparks into the forrest - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camp_Fire_(2018)      This was *huge*.

One of the 'new tools' of the power companies in our regions (California, Oregon, Washington states) is for the power company to shut off power in the case of high wind storms to pre-empt starting fires.   PGE (California Power company) invoked this recently and has been reported that power was off for several days in a row (not just a couple of hours).  

Obviously, a working solar system would be welcome in a case like this - and I was wondering if this is occurring anywhere else besides Western US?
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#2
I'm in canada and we have intermittent Power outages due to ageing Grid and Lots of trees but My power wall is primarily set for critical Loads. Fridge, freezer and internet (yes the internet is critical lol) But I can put other loads on it in the event of a power failure like furnace and lights. I'm currently at about 12kWh's of storage @ 24V and a 2.4kW inverter.

With 1kW of Panels it's enough to keep the Batteries charged in the summer but only give me 1/2 of my usage in the winter so I just charge at nigh when the power is cheaper.
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#3
Wow, that's crazy. Understandable, but crazy. I can't see, though, why they'd have the power off for "days". That doesn't make sense. The winds don't stay at dangerous speeds that long. Unless it's a hurricane/cyclone, but then the power is most likely going out anyways due to the storm.

As far as I know, we don't have any such actions here in Florida. Even though we get the occasional forest fire, it's nothing compared to Cali. Like a match compared to a bon-fire.
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#4
California is getting their people ready for the " Green New Deal "
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#5
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camp_Fire_(2018)
Many of the towers were over 100 years old, and the section that caused the fire was not even inspected the last 6 years. They wait 7 years to replace deficient parts. "a 2011 audit [...] found several thousand deficiencies".

I'd say they've just been criminally negligent for a looong time, and now are trying to blame it all on the weather.
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#6
Just reading this in the paper this morning....    In all my life I've never seen steady/reliable grid power at risk like this.   Crazy (makes you wonder about the future) but helping me justify off-grid solar in a way I never thought would happen.  


Another article on same date/event from Los Angeles Times
https://www.latimes.com/california/story...ly-weather
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#7
And many large lawsuits will ensue because ppl died because their A/C units couldn't keep their homes cool enough because the power company cut the power.
Proceed with caution. Knowledge is Power! Literally! Cool 
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#8
According to our news, they already shut down some areas?
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#9
(10-09-2019, 03:12 PM)100kwh-hunter Wrote: According to our news, they already shut down some areas?

"More than 1 million in California are without power tp curb wildfire risk; more outages coming"  https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/10/09/california-pge-power-outage-affect-millions-prevent-wildfire/3916848002/

I read that in some cases this could be for 5 DAYS (or more).   Doesn't seem like a well run power company - but I'm not an expert, which is why I was interested if this is happening anywhere else in the world.
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#10
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-49982236

A power company is cutting electricity to around 800,000 homes, businesses and other locations in Northern California, in an attempt to prevent wildfires.

Large swathes of the San Francisco Bay Area - though not the city itself - have lost power, angering residents.

The region’s utility company, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), has warned the shutdown could last several days.

The company's transmission lines started the deadliest wildfire in California’s history last year.

With weather forecasts predicting high winds, the move is intended to prevent the risk of fallen power lines igniting more wildfires.

"The conditions are ripe: dry fuel, high winds, warm event. Any spark can create a significant event," said Ray Riordan, director of the Office of Emergency Management in San Jose, during a press conference on Tuesday.

The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for the Santa Cruz Mountains, North and East Bay regions until Thursday, warning that conditions could result in "the strongest offshore wind event in the area since the October 2017 North Bay fires".

As of Wednesday morning, PG&E said around 500,000 customers were without power. Another 200,000 were scheduled to lose power by noon, local time, but the utility company has delayed further shutdowns until later in the afternoon due to changing weather conditions.

The huge “Camp Fire" in the town of Paradise last year burned 150,000 acres and left 86 people dead. An investigation determined that poorly maintained PG&E equipment was to blame for starting the historic blaze.

The day Paradise burned down
California fires 'can now happen any year'
'Losing everything has made me stronger'
The firm was also blamed for deadly fires in 2017. Subsequent lawsuits led the publicly traded company to declare bankruptcy in 2019, a process that is still ongoing. PG&E is the sole provider of gas and electricity for much of Northern California, and so the vast majority of consumers in the region do not have an alternative source of power.

“We have experienced an unprecedented fire season the past two years,” said Tamar Sarkissian, a PG&E spokeswoman, speaking to BBC partner CBS News.

"And what we learned from that is that we need to be taking further steps to ensure the safety of our customers and the communities that we serve. Public safety power shut off is one of the many steps that we're taking."

PG&E has carried out several planned outages over the course of the past year, though none at the scale of what is scheduled this week.

“None of us are happy about it,” said California governor, Gavin Newsom. “But this is part of something that we knew was likely to occur several months ago, when PG&E finally woke up to their responsibility to keep people safe.”

The outages are expected to affect more than half of the state's counties.

The warnings stretch north of the San Francisco Bay Area, in areas such as Napa and Sonoma, famed for wine-making. Further south, many cities synonymous with Silicon Valley giants could be affected, such as Cupertino, home to Apple.

Local shops reported an influx of customers buying up supplies for a black out that could, if the weather remains adverse, last for several days.

"The idea of five days without electricity is devastating,” said Libby Schaaf, mayor of Oakland, but added: "We fully expect that to be a worst-case scenario. This is our first time going through this.”

But websites providing information about the cuts have buckled under heavy traffic loads. Many residents have taken to PG&E’s social media channels to express their frustration.

Snapshots from California 'apocalypse' town
Volunteers fighting fires in California's 'forgotten canyon'
"This is ridiculous!” wrote Veronica Key.

"You wasted the money you should have been using on safety precautions to give dividends to your stockholders. Now you have to shut down our power like some sort of third world country.

"When you do shut down the power you can’t even get your notification website to work properly! Get it together PG&E! No more rate increases to pay for your incompetence.”

PG&E has opened 28 Community Resource Centers in the region to provide “restrooms, bottled water and electronic-device charging” during daylight hours.

Many schools in the area have told students to stay at home on Wednesday and await further information for the remainder of the week.

Despite widespread frustration, local meteorologist Mike Pechner told CBS the move was warranted.

"It's not an overreaction at all. As the wind comes in, the wires, of course, oscillate back and forth. If they touch, they start a fire.

"[Cutting power] is taking downed wires and high winds out of the fire equation."
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