A series of seemingly systematic, dramatically ill-timed power outages have left thousands of 24/680 residents in the dark in recent days and the resulting hue and cry from residents has attracted the attention of local government.
Piqued and power-less users have taken to this site’s Facebook page to vent, with whole neighborhoods left in the dark for many hours and on consecutive days.
Some of the outages appear connected to planned work on the local electrical system – work PG&E warned users about in advance – while others appear unrelated and the result of equipment failure or – gremlins? – no one seems to know for sure.
Residents of Burton Valley in Lafayette are feeling especially put upon, with blackouts in their neighborhood for three consecutive days and their good humor wearing thin as problems compounded.
“We got an extra special surprise tonite when our sewer line backed up also,” wrote Jenny, a resident of Blackout Valley – er, Burton Valley. “…and a plumber can’t snake it without power. The men are toughing it out and I came to a hotel.”
A spokesman for the city says Lafayette’s leaders have been in contact with PG&E and are “seeking answers to questions raised by residents.”
“We have also asked PG&E to provide communications on why these outages continue to take place,” the city’s spokesman wrote. “The City realizes how frustrating this situation is and we will update you as soon as we receive information from PG&E.”
But the good people of Burton Valley and Lafayette are by no means bearing the brunt of these outages alone, with widespread outages crippling neighboring burgs in Lamorinda, Walnut Creek, Martinez, Clayton and other spot outages too numerous to mention.
Some, like “Danville Dan,” have chosen to adopt a philosophical stance, chalking up their darkened homes to our recent heat wave and an overburdened electrical grid.
“I’ve been looking to get solar panels for the house for a long time now,” Dan wrote. “These past few days have told me the time is right…”
Hope we get some relief soon. I think it was all related to the heat and everyone clamoring for air con at the same moment…
Too many of us. We overloaded the grid. It won’t be the last time either.
If you go back to when PG&E was a PUBLIC utility you will find fewer outages and faster response times in the historical record. Part of that was also related to the condition of their infrastructure– much more money was spent on upgrades and maintenance before it was privatized. Study after study finds that private delivery of public services generally results in the diminished quality of said services along with much higher costs. US infrastructure overall is in heavy decline (the USA usually receives a “D” grade from the society for civil engineering– who rate the condition of our infrastructure). This is what you get when you let the wealthy opt out of paying their fair share of taxes. Civil society costs money and privatizing public assets almost always makes things worse not better. These are simple facts that seem to make some people uncomfortable. So you can get the money from raising taxes on the rapidly vanishing US middle class– except they don’t have it as wages and salaries for the middle class have been in stagnation for more than forty years now, so good luck with that. Or you can sell off the public services to private corporations and live with the higher prices and lower quality that this almost ALWAYS (studies abound on this) yields. US infrastructure is a joke compared to most of the EU, China, Canada, etc.