7 Days In October – May Be Nothing

Mpa of N. California Power Outages

Power Out in N. California 9 Oct 2019

IF I am suddenly not heard from for even up to a week, realize that these seven days in October, May be nothing. Just Kalifornia realizing that politicians and commissions are not very good at deciding how to run a power company and that management by lawsuit is worse.

So for at least 50 years that I personally know of, PG&E has generally provided reliable and safe power. Then, just a few years back, it became trendy for Politicians to Play With The Shiny Thing…. and power & light have been a ‘sometimes thing’ ever since. The last time they did this the people got sober long enough to toss out Gov. Grey “Out” Davis due to unstable power supply. This time, Gov. Nuisance has managed to get PG&E marked as the Bad Guy (even though they are constrained by the politicians and commissions).

So “we’ll see” what comes of it longer term. But, right now, we’ve got an immediate issue that PG&E wants $1 Billion approved rate hike to do their job right and trim trees and grass away from power lines. They used to do this, but I guess things changed /sarc;


San Jose Mayor Warns Of 7 Days Without Power From PG&E
Megan Goldsby
5 hrs ago
White House declares war on impeachment inquiry
Turkey amasses troops on Syrian border

SAN JOSE — PG&E has notified 30 California counties that the utility may turn off electricity to lower the danger of wildfires as dry, windy weather conditions stretch across much of the state this week.

Seven of the nine Bay Area counties are on that list of counties. Only San Francisco County and Marin County are not under

In the South Bay, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo is sounding the alarm that a shutoff could leave people without electricity for a week.

“We would encourage residents and businesses to prepare for being without power for as potentially as long as seven days,” he said. “We certainly hope this is not going to be a seven day power shut down, but we want everyone to be prepared.”

PG&E has said the power could be shut off on Wednesday morning and remain off until Thursday afternoon.

To prepare for that possibility, Liccardo said that “Our emergency operations center will be activated on Tuesday night.”

Well, OK, so “any time now”…

Isn’t it nice that the Democratic Heartland of San Francisco and Marin is exempt?…

Well, OK, I’m running down the fridge / freezer inventory, raising the canned goods and dry goods inventory, and maybe I’ll get the generator out and see if it still works. It’s been a few years.

But, if suddenly I go quiet, you’ll know the most likely reason.

Gee, wonder how “traffic” will be at the Tesla Dealership… Well, the good news is that all the wind farms will be making lots of electricity, even if nobody can use it…

IF the power does go off, I’ve easily got a week worth of supplies, camp fuel, and even a 1 kW inverter and enough gas in the cars to keep us in lights and TV. Then I can set up a canning / drying / cooking operation for whatever is left in the fridge / freezer. IF it makes it to day two, then I’ll worry about spending that day cleaning and tuning up the generator. About day 3 I might need to drive up toward San Francisco to buy some bottled water (either that or its break out the filter and use the less good stuff).

Ah, the joys of life in Kalifornia as The Progressives progresses to 3rd World Amenities…

Subscribe to feed


About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in Economics - Trading - and Money, Emergency Preparation and Risks, Energy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

40 Responses to 7 Days In October – May Be Nothing

  1. Kneel says:

    Maybe you should get a Tesla when they are cheap – dual use of hip/cool/woke transport AND battery storage for your household inverter…

  2. philjourdan says:

    I hear 800k of you just got the plug pulled. I feel for the huddled masses of Cali (all 2 of you that remain of the Middle Class).

  3. E.M.Smith says:

    Well, I’m still up, for now… So just waiting… wait for it… maybe I’ll go to bed… ;-)

  4. p.g.sharrow says:

    I am as ready as I can get. Grrrrrrrrr…..not even a breeze here. Expect to be grid less Wednesday to Friday morning. Gas for generator was used down during last weekend shut down and this will be longer.Oh well, good practice for the future….pg

  5. Larry Ledwick says:

    Probably should have posted in this thread rather than the WOOD thread.
    Power outage notifications and map:

  6. Larry Ledwick says:

    Also info here from Mercury News.
    Map looks like it is a bit higher resolution.


  7. HJ says:

    I’m sorry. Truly am.


    Would you not love to see one of those prissy Sacramento types change their tire?

  8. E.M.Smith says:

    Thanks for the map!

    Looks like they are just shutting off the hills and more rural areas. I’m in an urban flat-land area shown as “safe”.

    Maybe they figured having 4 million people in the Urban Bay Area all pissed at them at once was a Bad Idea ;-)

    Does look like PG is in an outage area. (Click on the maps +/- to zoom. I zoomed in on PG’s place)


    IF you don’t already have one, I strongly recommend you get an inverter. Maybe a couple of them. I have a nice 250 watt unit from a Truck Stop (got on the road then realized I’d not packed my other one…) that cost about $20-something. Has USB charging points, another cigarette lighter socket space, and a few 120 VAC outlets.

    Great for radio, cell charging, laptop charging, running a R.Pi, router, etc. and a few 9 to 13 Watt CFL or LED bulbs. It’s “enough” to keep you lit and the communications running.

    I’ve also got a much older slightly more industrial 300 W job that’s great too, but it just has 2 x 120 VAC outlets. Then I’ve got a couple of about 150 W size that live in computer bag / travel bag. Got them at car parts stores IIRC. I’ve used them to charge a laptop, cell phone, and run a light in the car when on the road. (Marginal for running AND charging the old HP laptop as it could suck 250 W and needed the bigger one).

    The nice thing is that your car can run one of these for hours, and you can recharge the usage in just a few minutes of engine running. Most alternators are about 800 W to a kW so if you are using 80 W to 100 W every 10 hours needs one hour of charge time.

    Ten hours of 100 W is 1 kW-hr. A car battery is about 80 AMP-Hours or 80 x 12 W-hr or 960. So IF you run 100 W for 10 hours straight, the battery is dead and no starting… so I plan on running the engine 10 minutes out of every hour, more or less. OTOH, in a real power outage of duration, I’m not sitting up with the lights on from 8 PM to 6 AM…

    This article as a photo of my older one and my smaller one along with the light in the kit:


  9. Octave Fiddler says:

    Here’s a frequently updated page full of wind speed gauges;
    Apparently a PGE network.
    If you hover over a station, it shows recent history.
    I bet they turn power off very granularly, to minimize lost revenue (and secondarily anger).
    Already some sites in the Red zone, although only within the last hour?

  10. rhoda klapp says:

    Time for a proposition on the ballot paper?

  11. jim2 says:

    Time for a new State?

    I have an 800 watt inverter. You can get even higher wattage, but of course will need more battery depending on load.

  12. Octave Fiddler says:

    That is an interesting Fire Weather’ site.
    Hover over a station name to see hourly history.
    If you Click on a station it goes the map of where it is located.
    ‘Touch here to return’.
    Red bar means ‘Red Flag’ , some combination of dry/warm/windy conditions.
    Apparently less than 25% RH, Wind>10MPH, Temp > ?
    (this from my own snooping, a puzzle for the readers to deduce)…
    ‘High’ wind stations are BOLDED .
    At the bottom you can choose to only show Red Flag stations.
    Interesting to see a USGovt site which is named ‘ Snooper’ and which has a category of reporting stations called ‘Flirtatious’, apparently flirting with Red Flag status.

    Somewhat like watching the live rainfall radar and Lake Oroville reservoir levels during that floody year.
    All quiet on the western front for now.

  13. Nancy & John Hultquist says:

    Have a look at the winds.
    Earth.nullschool dot net

    Very large High Pressure in NE Pacific with a band across at about 50° N Latitude. Low Pressure is from Reno up toward Boise, ID.

    The initial push across Washington State brought snow to Stevens Pass (2nd time in a week), and also to the lower (3,000 ft) Snoqualmie Pass.

    At daybreak in central WA State the temp is 30°F.

    This is all the fault of the anti-CO2 folks, or something.

    Good thoughts sent to all those without power.

  14. Octave Fiddler says:

    Two more things;
    You have to click that PGE or ALL button in upper right to see full array.
    After you go out to see a station location and ‘touch to return’,
    you come back to the RAWS stations which are much fewer than PGE.
    I still can’t discern the full, specific criteria for Red Flag stations.

  15. Octave Fiddler says:

    Whoa ho,
    this is a (unsecure) realtime outage map if you are allowed to go to it;

    Trolling through the ‘Cities List, I see Clearlake, Fairfield, Placerville, Sonoma, and Vacaville with maybe ~15000 customers out per city.
    This is further afield than the NOAA MTR (Monterey block) of the National Weather service.

    Looks like they are serious about pre-emptive outages, despite absence of confirmation from their own sensor network;

  16. Octave Fiddler says:

    Whoops, now that outage page is either choking or all the problems got reset when the ‘day shift’ came on duty. Reloading takes a long time, then shows an odd ‘intra-page’ timer thing (lateral rolling 3 dot bar) and then the map comes up empty. City list also shows no outages.
    It was fun while it lasted…

    Numerous PGE pages are very flaked out since they announced the event.

    To the comments of the original post,
    this reminds me of this time we were supposed to be working with a company in China.
    They had to reschedule the weekly status meetings,
    because Thursdays are their scheduled ‘No Power’ days, .
    Welcome to life in ROW conditions.

  17. E.M.Smith says:

    Well, the sun is rising and I still have power. ;-)

    Looking out the window not a hint of wind. (Yeah, I know, ought to look at some electronic weather thing covering miles… but, but, I have a window and I know how to use it. After all, I’m not a “Climate Scientist” ;-)

    Besides, our weather tends to come in off the Pacific in very wide bands. What you see at the coast tends to tell you what is happening inland, up the mountains, and for a couple of hundred miles N / S.

    As to “serious about the preemptive outages”: I think they are really serious about the $Billion Rate Increase they have asked for and are assuring it passes the PUC by using whatever “crisis” is available… (The $Billion is for tree / shrub trimming and line maintenance to “prevent fires”… so you of course need to ‘demonstrate the alternative’ to focus the mind of the politicians in charge of the commissions…)

    Me? I’m thinking a faster move to Florida is on the cards…

  18. Octave Fiddler says:

    Outage map back up, lots of them!
    I wonder if PGE adjusted settings on ‘Reclosers’, which are the power line ‘circuit breakers’ which attempt to reconnect a few times to minimize ‘nuisance’ outages
    due to momentary overloads such as squirrels being vaporized.
    If I knew how to insert an image I would.

    PGE just sent me another email; Doom is Imminent;

    Dear Valued Customer,

    To protect public safety, PG&E has turned off or will soon turn off your power. To view a list of your impacted locations visit pgepsps.com.


  19. Octave Fiddler says:

    Weird, now the NOAA wind snoop page is suddenly not accessible.

    “Could not connect : Can’t connect to local MySQL server through socket ‘/var/lib/mysql/mysql.sock’ (2)”
    Did everyone suddenly log onto that link?
    I tried logging in from a private window, no cookies to be the problem, Nope.

  20. E.M.Smith says:


    FWIW, I love my Honda Generator. There are also some that run on natural gas or propane. Back during Gov. Grey “Out” Davis years, I’d planned to get one of the dual fuel ones and plumb it into the natural gas supply of the house. (That’s the cheapest fuel and avoids “road tax” too).

    We kicked his butt out of government and got stable power back, so I put the whole project on hold, then set it all aside.

    Since this looks like it might become “a regular thing”, I’m likely to restart that project (though in a slightly more portable form for the move to Florida… being expedited…)

    I measured our use and it’s about an average of 1 kW / hour around the clock (or was back then). That’s when I bought my 2 kW inverter (that I’ve never used since we dumped the Gov. instead ;-) and started to build a battery box. My little Honda runs about 8 hours on a quart and makes one kW. Figured I’d just hook it to a battery box, put the alternator on the other side, and put a car charger on the batteries. Power goes out, the car charger stops charging (but we don’t notice other than a couple of bit appliances don’t work). After 20 minutes or so, I go start the Generator…. and go back to the TV / dinner / computer / whatever.

    That was the plan. Never had to build it. But maybe now…

    FWIW, our fridge takes about 700 W max start so runs nicely from the Honda along with the TV and lights. The other “big appliances” not planned for that system? The AEK All Electric Kitchen. I have a camp stove, propane BBQ, and other cooking appliances so don’t need to use the stove / oven. Even bought a kerosene stove / portable oven for it so baking would continue. Then there’s the washer / dryer (plenty of clean clothes for a week or two) and the heater / AC. It never gets that hot or cold here. I have a (politically incorrect) fireplace if it comes to that, and I have a kerosene and unleaded gas versions of the Coleman Lantern that are really kW heaters with free light ;-) We ALWAYS have some windows cracked open and plenty of air flow. California houses are drafty anyway as we just don’t DO weather ;-) So no risk of CO issues.

    Then figured if it became a “regular thing” I’d get a newer generator with dual fuel ability and plumb it into the natural gas line (as the gas keeps running when the electricity is out). Basically a poor mans version of the Honda home co-generator systems that also makes hot water… and costs a few $Thousands … There’s some nice 2 kW & 3 kW versions that would make run time much less. Like maybe as low as 5 to 8 hours a day.

    So “left to do” is basically just a batter box, get the generator serviced, and hook it all up / do some wiring. Or maybe just buy an RV with an Onan built in and drive to Florida ;-)

  21. E.M.Smith says:


    Outage map comes up for me. I suspect someone at PG&E is doing maintenance / changes in a ham handed way…

    I entered 1001 Market Street, Santa Clara (as it demanded a valid address) and it’s spinning… but not giving any resultant map after a minute so who know.s.. Ah, now saying it can’t find my address so I guess I didn’t guess well enough ;-0 and the “City List” is empty. Sure smells like someone working on it (empty city list)…

  22. E.M.Smith says:

    Yeah, definitely having problems. Put in the address of city hall:
    1500 Warburton Avenue, Santa Clara, CA 95050, USA
    and it still says can’t find the address…

    City of Santa Clara
    Bing Maps

    Address: 1500 Warburton Ave, Santa Clara, CA 95050

  23. E.M.Smith says:

    Interesting map here:

    Doing a screen cap on it now…

  24. E.M.Smith says:

    Added this image up top:

    FWIW, GIMP on the Odroid N2 just flies! Man that’s a fast board for image edits.

  25. Octave Fiddler says:

    Right, Nat Gas powered genset, Amen.
    That should address the stupid problem of dead carburetor.
    I had replacement ‘in stock’ here, but not installed.
    (so I wouldn’t wreck it also).
    Now at the HW store awaiting fix.
    All the contractors buying new genset took priority yesterday.

    Anyway, seems *weird that the Snoop program is not available suddenly.
    (and it is a NOAA operation. I can’t even see the RAWS stations which are not PGE.
    This message;
    “Could not connect : Lost connection to MySQL server at ‘reading initial communication packet’, system error: 111”

    like someone pulled a plug?

    Before NOAA access went down, there were just the same 3 Red Flag stations among the dozens, and they were on dry windy mountain areas., at the same time as the numerous outages (Napa, Sonoma, Santa Rosa, Vacaville.) Many stations local to the shutdown areas had high RH and negligible wind, No red bars.

    Maybe me whinging will cause it to become fixed…

  26. Ossqss says:

    So,,,,, this is a result of decades of mismanaged forestry maintenance due to eco-loon policy influence? Where do the extinction rebels start their trouble next? Perhaps Greta can go lecture the forests about expelling their absorbed CO2 to help extiguish any future flames? Oh, wait……

  27. Octave Fiddler says:

    OK, got my genset,
    NOAA is back up.
    Some slight amount of wind ‘action’
    Besides the three ‘chronic’ stations (one between clearlake and Yolo, one near Cachagua east of Carmel Valley, and one near the Clifton Forebay of the CA Aqueduct),

    two or three more RedFlags,
    and ~20ish ‘flirtatious’ stations (i.e. RedFlag within last N hours).

    Power still on despite explicit Noon cutoff warnings which were not cancelled..

    Thrilling non-event.

  28. Steven Fraser says:

    @ Don Octave (channeling Mozart, here) : By the time the front reaches Boulder CO tomorrow, forcasted to drop multi-inches of white, frozen Global Warning on the ground, on a day which does not exceed 32F. Yay/Brrr/Yay

  29. E.M.Smith says:


    It is highly likely you can get the dual fuel carburetor as a replacement part for the generator you have…

    My Honda probably needs a good carb cleaning too…

  30. Ossqss says:

    If a genny had gas in it, has not been used for a few years, it needs bowl, jet, pin, seat all cleaned. Especially if ethanol was in it. Just be careful of gaskets. I would also recommend having a sheet of gasket material available to recreate a gasket if needed. It is cheap and you can make whatever you need. I keep 2 thicknesses on hand for such and have used it many times over the years. I use a wood chisel to cut it with precision once traced. Don’t use a utility knife.

    Just my 2 cents.

  31. philjourdan says:

    Reading through the comments on the inverters made me think of something funny (not for Snowflakes of course).

    When PG&E cuts the power to an area, must be a real bitch for those SJWs who have all electric cars! LOLOLOLOL

  32. jim2 says:

    Now Tesla is warning people that before they settle into their outage outrage, they should really charge up their electric cars.

    You see, electric cars are great options—except when there is no way to power them up. To be as proactive as PG&E, after hearing the news of the impending power cut, Tesla jumped into action, sending out an in-car alert to the dashboard display warning owners to charge their vehicles fully ahead of the outage.


  33. Larry Ledwick says:

    We told you so – – –

  34. p.g.sharrow says:

    This power outrage is a real annoyance, I am up on A big UPS, need to fire up the generator to charge batteries and cool fridges again. Looks like Chico proper has power. There has been barely a breeze here this whole time.

  35. H.R. says:

    Here’s a way to solve your power problems, p.g.

    It’s a hydropower generator made from an old washing machine. The video is only a splish over 10 minutes, so a few things will be left “as an exercise for the viewer.”

  36. Larry Ledwick says:

    Hmmm interesting, I don’t have any near by persistent water flow with enough hydrostatic head but it would not be too difficult not far from here.

    Amazon sells several styles of pelton wheels and even small micro hydro-generators


  37. Larry Ledwick says:

    PG&E value just lost about 29%, after judge rules that stake holders have a right to be heard in their reorganization plan.


  38. Larry Ledwick says:

    Well looks like LA got the fire this time.

    The #SaddleridgeFire which started in Sylmar has now jumped the 5 freeway per @LAFD. Additional mandatory evacuation orders for the area of Balboa to Tampa north of Sesnon. The 210 freeway between the 5 & 118 has been shutdown per @CHPsouthern. Take this fire seriously!

  39. Larry Ledwick says:

    News Breaking LIVE
    2 minutes ago
    BREAKING: 1600 acres have burned in #saddleridgefire in Los Angeles. Structures have burned and the the fire has reportedly jumped multiple freeways

Comments are closed.