Tens of thousands of California residents were affected by power outages this summer, as Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) company shutoff electric lines in order to mitigate fire hazards in high-threat zones.
Only those generating their own power with such systems as home solar were among the few that maintained access to electricity and could continue with life as normal.
Warnings leading up to the outages were abrupt, as PG&E’s system relies on variable weather conditions such as the wind to determine when and where to turn off the power. Cities in Northern California regions are currently among the areas hit worse, with the utility company alerting 5.4 million customers with texts, robocalls, and emails that power shutoffs might be happening in less than 24 hours.
One such shutoff that took place in August left more than 54,000 people in Santa Cruze, San Jose, and Marine County without power, spoiling food and disrupting businesses and lifestyles.
“We ask that all our customers use this event as a reminder to revisit their emergency plans and build or restock their emergency kits to prepare for potential power outages during wildfire season,” said PG&E official Michael Lewis to the Sacramento Bee.
PG&E expects this to be the new normal, with the scope of its grid outages and blackouts expanding across California and parts of Nevada in order to preempt wildfire risks, such as the state’s deadliest fires that occurred last summer due to historically hot conditions and downed electrical lines during high winds.
Having a reliable source of power combined with a generous 30% federal tax credit, which is scheduled to significantly decrease at the end of 2019, has spurred many California residents to install home solar. Home solar companies such as Go Green Solar help provide people with some of the best cost solar install options in the country, offering professional and DIY options.
For some in California, the era of reliable electricity in the wildfire-plagued state is coming to an end, while for others that are taking matters into their own hands, the future is looking bright.