More than 2.5 million Californians are without power in 36 counties, while parts of the state burn. Utilities warn the power outages could go on for up to five days.
Sunday, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a statewide emergency due to the effects of high-winds which have resulted in fires and evacuations across the state, Gov. Newsom said in a press statement,“We are deploying every resource available, and are coordinating with numerous agencies as we continue to respond to these fires. It is critical that people in evacuation zones heed the warnings from officials and first responders, and have the local and state resources they need as we fight these fires.”
The Kincade Fire in Sonoma County has burned more than 30,000 acres, destroyed homes and structures, and led to the evacuation of roughly 200,000 people. The Tick Fire in Southern California has also destroyed structures, threatened homes and critical infrastructure, and caused the evacuation of tens of thousands of residents, the press statement said.
PG&E maps out the power outages, as well as offering a city list where you can look up your city’s status.
Sacramento Municipal Utilities District (SMUD) is also experiencing power outages, and posted its own map for ratepayers:
Many California residents have purchased expensive generators to keep refrigerators and freezers on, but generators rely mostly on natural gas. Democrats in the California Legislature want to ban natural gas to homes and require only electric appliances. So California residents won’t even be able to protect keep our power on in this “new normal.”
As Governor Newsom struggles to stay in control, he continues blame “climate change” and “extreme weather,” as well as to criticize PG&E for its failure to invest in its infrastructure and technology, never acknowledging that state government is in charge of regulating these utilities to make sure this never happens.
“These are difficult calls,” he said at a press conference Saturday. “But a society as industrious and entrepreneurial and innovative as ours should not have to face a choice between public safety and public blackouts. We can do both together. And that is what path we are on.”
“Power shutoffs continue to put California’s most vulnerable residents at risk,” said Governor Gavin Newsom in a press statement. “These proactive steps will help us protect medically vulnerable residents and ensure that there is a continuity of care for individuals in health and community care facilities across the state.”
The Governor’s press office sent out a statement Saturday announcing “a new Public Safety Power Shutoff Planning Team within the California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS) and tools to help ensure that medically vulnerable Californians have their needs met during power shutoffs. CHHS has also established a partnership with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and United Domestic Workers (UDW), to ensure that In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) providers are equipped with the information they need to care for some of California’s most vulnerable consumers.”
Govt. Created Energy Blackouts Coming to a City Near You
I’ve covered the issue of power outages for years. In 2016 I wrote:
Most countries around the world think that it’s a good thing to have cheap energy. But in California, we have plenty of cheap energy available, just not the political will to access it.
California depends on natural gas-driven turbines and hydroelectric generators to provide just 38 percent of its oil needs. The state imports 12 percent of its oil from Alaska, and another 50 percent from foreign nations, relying heavily on Canada.
So why are California’s utilities warning of potential rolling blackouts again?
That was three years ago.
California’s natural gas shale formation is one of the largest in the world. And, California has been a pioneer in renewable energy, albeit still unreliable and unproven. Yet warnings have been steadily leveled that Californians will have ongoing rolling blackouts.
While California sits on one of the largest known deposits of recoverable oil and gas, production is falling steadily, as the state outlaws extraction of its vast onshore and offshore deposits, which are fully accessible through conventional and hydraulic fracturing technologies.
The state is awash in ultra cheap natural gas, yet in California, our corrupt government finds ways to create an energy shortage, and charge rate payers the highest rates in the country.
This is one reason California electricity costs more than twice the national median—thanks to a government-created shortage.
Another reason is that the California Public Utilities Commission, the state’s energy “regulator,” has an historic dubious relationship with Wall Street, making promises to keep the profits higher of the state’s publicly held utilities, than utility profits elsewhere. Those profits come out of ratepayers’ pockets.
$5 Billion Cover-Up at San Onofre
Another of the problem areas is the California Public Utilities Commission $5 billion cover up and scandal over the 2012 closure of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, due to the failure of the steam generators. San Diego attorneys Mike Aguirre and Mia Severson exposed the attempt to make the public pay big for utility and regulatory executives’ mistakes at the failed San Onofre nuclear power plant.
Southern California Edison executives purchased new steam generators from Mitsubishi, but were warned that they were bigger and run hotter, and could fail. SCE executives purchased and installed the generators anyway, knowing of a flaw in the generator design, according to records. Built to last 40 years, the generators at San Onofre failed after 2 years. And, the generators’ cost had not yet been included in rates. So SCE was faced with broken generators they could not charge ratepayers for.
Then-PUC President Michael Peevey, and executives of Southern California Edison colluded in secret to saddle ratepayers with $3.3 billion of the $5 billion shutdown cost. The $5 billion recovery settlement was negotiated in secret in Poland, away from prying eyes and open records laws in California.
Newsom Lashes Out and Blames
Newsom also lit into PG&E. “It’s more than just climate change. It’s about the failure of capitalism to address climate change,” he told reporters Friday as he spoke about the utility’s continued use of rolling blackouts.
Newsom also blamed on oil companies on the state’s highest-in-the-nation gas prices.
“CA drivers have paid an average of 30 cents more per gallon. There’s no identifiable evidence to justify that. I’m demanding an investigation. If oil companies are engaging in false advertising or price fixing — legal action should be taken,” Newsom tweeted.
“No identifiable evidence to justify” the fact that Californians pay the highest gas prices in the country?
Gov. Newsom asked California Attorney General Xavier Becerra last week to launch an investigation into oil companies’ conspiracy to keep gas prices artificially high. Newsom based his request on a report suggesting California drivers are paying $1 more per gallon of gasoline than the rest of the country, according to The Associated Press.
As for the blackouts, PG&E said the utility is keeping tabs on wind conditions.