Monday, October 28, 2019

Some Power Restored as Another Blackout Looms

Posted By on Mon, Oct 28, 2019 at 11:25 AM

PG&E is in the process of inspecting lines in an effort to bring power back to Humboldt County this morning, with some areas already having been restored as another Public Safety Power Shutoff looms before dawn tomorrow.

According to the Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services, PG&E is hoping to restore power to all local customers in advance of the next weather event that will bring elevated fire conditions and another blackout. That weather event is expected to begin at 6 a.m. tomorrow, with PG&E currently planning to cut power in Humboldt County around 4:30 a.m. But OES warns that these times are estimates and locals should prepare to lose power any time tonight.

click to enlarge The Eureka Municipal Auditorium, crowded with people charging their electronics this morning, with a line extending out the door. - LYNN LEISHMAN
  • Lynn Leishman
  • The Eureka Municipal Auditorium, crowded with people charging their electronics this morning, with a line extending out the door.
That is, if they even get it back before the next blackout. While PG&E is working to restore power, it's unknown if it will get power to all 60,000 or so local customers before the next shutdown, which could last into Thursday or beyond.

For those who do see power return, OES is advising that they use the brief window of electricity to recharge electrical devices, re-stock supplies, refuel vehicles and generally prepare to again be without electricity for some days.

Public safety agencies, meanwhile, report that things have been generally calm since PG&E cut power to Humboldt County beginning around 10:30 p.m. Saturday, though there have been some reported generator thefts.

Eureka Police Chief Steve Watson said three generators have been confirmed stolen in the city since Saturday night — two from the backs of trucks and one from the backyard of a residence during the night. Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal similarly said his office has received reports of generator thefts. Both urged folks to make sure their generators are locked down, secured and not left out overnight.

"Also, people have been complaining about generator noise," Honsal said in a text message to the Journal. "But there's not much we can do about that right now."

This seems a good opportunity to remind folks that OES is asking that folks refrain from calling 911 unless they are experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening emergency.

OES also advises that folks with disabilities or who are dependent on electricity to power life-sustaining medical equipment can call or text Tri-County Independent Living at (833) 866-8444 for assistance. Anisa Escobedo, the organization's outreach coordinator, told the Journal it has received approximately 250 calls through the outage and has been helping connect patients in need of electricity to power oxygen tanks and CPAP machines with local hotels that have power.

A host of community resource centers and electronic device charging stations have been set up throughout the county, as well, and you can find a full list in OES post that is copied below. Reports indicate that people looking to charge up should be prepared to wait, as some centers have long lines.

Blue Lake Rancheria, meanwhile, reports that it still has fuel, ice and supplies, though it is limiting fuel purchases to $50 and ice to two bags per customer. Check its Facebook page for continued updates.

See the full OES release copied below:


PG&E power shutoff Monday morning update
Oct. 28, 2019
A large majority of Humboldt County residents remain without power after PG&E implemented a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) around 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26. At this time, PG&E is reporting that air and ground crews are inspecting power lines with the goal of full power restoration before the next planned PSPS on Tuesday, Oct. 29. Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services (OES) has received reports that power is coming back on in some parts of the county, but PG&E acknowledges that some customers may remain without power through the next shutoff. Please note, all information provided by the utility is subject to change at any time.
PG&E has said that the Oct. 29 weather event is expected to begin around 6 a.m. with power being shut off around 4:30 a.m. Residents should be prepared for power to go off any time overnight tonight. If your power is restored, use that time to restock emergency supplies, recharge medical and other devices, make arrangements for medical needs and refuel vehicles and generators.
Individuals with a disability who are dependent on electricity to power life-sustaining durable medical equipment or are PG&E Medical Baseline Program customers and who need help should call or text Tri-County Independent Living at 1-833-866-8444 for assistance. If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, call 911. Do not call 911 for information about the power outage.
Community Resource Centers (CRC) will be available at the following locations for the duration of the event:
Thomas Home Center - 1685 Sutter Rd, McKinleyville (Bring your own charging equipment)
• Weekdays 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Blue Lake Rancheria – 428 Chartin Rd., Blue Lake (PG&E-sponsored)
• Monday, Oct. 28 – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Arcata Community Center - 321 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parkway, Arcata
• Monday, Oct. 28 - 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Eureka Municipal Auditorium - 1120 F St., Eureka (Bring your own charging equipment)
• Monday, Oct. 28 - 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Humboldt Bay Fire Bode Classroom “Medical Device Charging Station” – 3030 L St., Eureka
• Monday, Oct. 28 – 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department - 320 South Fortuna Blvd., Fortuna (Medical Device charging only)
• Monday, Oct. 28 – Throughout the day
Ferndale Fire Department - 436 Brown St., Ferndale (Staff on hand to evaluate medical and safety needs of residents)
• Monday, Oct. 28 – Throughout the day
Hoopa Neighborhood Facilities – 11900 CA-96 (PG&E-sponsored)
• Monday, Oct. 28 – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Remaining PG&E-sponsored CRCs have not opened as previously reported. Additional openings will be posted to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s OES Facebook page as information becomes available.
For information about school closures, follow the Humboldt County Office of Education on Facebook or contact your child’s school district.
To learn more about PSPS, go to pge.com/prepareforpowerdown or by calling 1-877-9000-PGE. Sign up to receive location-specific emergency information through Humboldt ALERTs at humboldtgov.org/alerts. Follow Sheriff’s OES on Facebook for the most recent updates. www.facebook.com/HumboldtCountyOES/
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Thadeus Greenson is the news editor of the North Coast Journal.

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