Tuesday, October 8, 2019

County Officials: Prepare for Days Without Power

Posted By on Tue, Oct 8, 2019 at 7:25 PM

click to enlarge Humboldt Bay Power Plant. - YULIA WEEKS
  • Yulia Weeks
  • Humboldt Bay Power Plant.
Following up on an emergency alert sent out earlier this evening, the county of Humboldt has issued a press release warning that most, if not all, Pacific Gas and Electric customers will lose power beginning at midnight tonight and should be prepared to be without power for at least a few days.

The outage is hitting Humboldt and some 33 other California counties as a part of PG&E’s plan to shut down portions of its grid in high wind and low humidity conditions in an effort to prevent catastrophic wildfires.

The county is warning that power will likely be out at least until Thursday afternoon, but adds that it may take PG&E up to five days to restore power to all customers, meaning Humboldt customers may have to do without until early next week. The reason for the delay in restoring power is that after the winds die down, PG&E will need to inspect its transmission lines to ensure none have been damaged before turning power back on.

The county has activated its emergency operations center, which is working with local partners to respond to the looming outage.

“Public safety is the first priority,” the press release states. “Emergency dispatch will continue to operate during the outage. If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, call 911. Do not call 911 for information about the power outage. Outage information is provided by PG&E.”

See the county’s full press release copied below for more information about how to prepare for the coming days:

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has notified the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services (Sheriff’s OES) that Humboldt County will lose power at midnight tonight due to de-energization of two transmission lines originating in Shasta County.

Based on the most recent information from PG&E, most or all customers in Humboldt County will be without power. The outage may last for several days. Power restoration is tentatively scheduled to begin Thursday at noon, however full restoration may take up to five days after the Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) has ended.

Sheriff’s OES has activated the Emergency Operations Center and is actively working with local partners to respond to the outage. Public safety is the first priority. Emergency dispatch will continue to operate during the outage. If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, call 911. Do not call 911 for information about the power outage. Outage information is provided by PG&E.

Adult Protective Services is contacting current clients with access and functional needs who are at risk of death as a result of a power outage. People who rely on powered medical equipment should contact their medical providers or suppliers directly to make arrangements during the outage. Anyone experiencing an immediate medical need or life-threatening emergency should call 911. This line will be heavily impacted and is strictly for emergencies only.

PG&E had been working to generate power from its King Salmon power plant to reduce impacts to Humboldt County. However, PG&E is now reporting that the plant will not be able to meet the county’s needs. The utility is now focused on keeping critical facilities online during the outage.

The decision to shut off power, the duration of the outage and the time of restoral is solely managed by PG&E. Learn more about PSPS and sign up for alerts at prepareforpowerdown.com, or call 1-877-9000-PGE.

Be prepared for power outages:

o Stock at least three days of nonperishable food and water.

o Treat any intersection without lights or with flashing lights as a four-way stop.

o Keep mobile phones and other electric equipment charged and gas tanks full.

o Talk to your medical provider about a power outage plan for medical devices powered by electricity and refrigerated medicines. Plan for batteries and other alternatives to meet your needs when the power goes out.

o Many medications are still usable for two to three days at room temperature, including insulin, which can keep for 28 to 30 days. However if you are in doubt, please check with your medical provider.

o Review available supplies. Have flashlights with extra batteries for every household member. Keep at least a three-day supply of nonperishable food and water.

o Use a thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer so you can know the temperature when the power is restored. Throw out food if the temperature is 40 degrees or higher.

o Know how to manually open electric garage doors and gates.

o Check with your child’s school district to find out about school closures.

o Sign up for Humboldt ALERT at humboldtgov.org/alerts to receive safety information and be informed of imminent threats to personal safety or property, tailored to an address of your choosing.

Follow Sheriff’s OES on Facebook for the latest information. facebook.com/humboldtcountyoes

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Thadeus Greenson

Thadeus Greenson is the news editor of the North Coast Journal.

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