October 8, 2019

The San Francisco Bay area is bracing for a potential power shutoff tomorrow. This is a preventive measure that our gas and electric utility, PG&E, is planning to implement if the forecasted high winds and low humidity combine with a high danger of fire. PG&E is hoping that by turning off the power, they won’t be the cause of any more wildfires from downed or damaged power lines.

PG&E Logo

The uncertainty of whether the power will actually go off, and for which neighborhoods, is weighing on everyone’s minds. I’ve received notices warning about this from the landlord at my office building, a nearby police department, and my bank. What I haven’t seen is any direct communication from PG&E. I only found out about the potential outage from the website of a local newspaper.

That doesn’t give me a lot of hope that the shutdown will be handled well. Their website has been down most of the day because it couldn’t handle the high volume of visitors.

We’re being warned that the power could be off for several days, as PG&E will need to inspect the lines after the fire threat is over. So we’re supposed to stock up on essentials.

Am I ready? Nope. My address is not likely to be affected, according to the map on PG&E’s website. I have some extra water, will put the flashlight by my bed tonight, and am charging all of my electronic devices. I have food, but most of what I eat goes in the microwave, so I may be eating lots of peanut butter sandwiches and trail mix.

Full tank of gas? Nope. The lines were too long today and my lower back has been out for a couple of weeks, making driving painful.

Extra cash? Nope. Didn’t think of it until it was too late.

My characters are deeply disappointed in me. (Kris, WAR’s Mother Hen, is shaking his head at me. Niko just gave me a thoroughly disgusted look.) If they were here, they’d have stockpiled supplies in my garage until my car would barely fit. They’d have a camp stove ready to set up so I could make my morning coffee. And I know they’d figure out a way to run my hair dryer.

It’s pretty darn depressing how dependent on electricity we are. When I lived in West Africa, we had rolling blackouts and the hardest part was getting water brought over from the communal well.

We’re expected to show up for work tomorrow, regardless of the power situation. The biggest problem? Whether the building will have staff on hand to let us inside, as we normally need key cards to open the doors. I have a key to our office, but not the building.

It should be an interesting morning!

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