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  #51  
Old 10-09-2019, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Darren Garrison View Post
I'm sure that customers will gladly and quietly pay the higer prices needed to pay for the $30 billion in upgrades that would be needed to make the lines safe.

No--wait--they would scream bloody murder and demand that the government force the companies to keep the same prices.

You get what you pay for.
Is that $30 billion in upgrades figure accurate? If so, then it's not really much of a mystery why they haven't done it, and it has nothing to do with the vast CEO pay (which a quick Google search says is $8 million a year). PG&E's total profit for was $4.38 billion for 2018. Even leaving aside law suits, and if they poured 100% of their profits into upgrades, something they couldn't do, it would take them nearly 10 years to pay for it...and, on the flip side, they would probably be making...well, the same amount. Maybe their maintenance costs would lower, a bit, with a new infrastructure, but it's not going to really change their business model much if any. The state MAY allow them to increase the price for energy, but Californian's already pay very high prices for energy...higher than most other states in the US in fact, so there is limited scale on that front. PG&E would almost certainly have to raise rates substantially to pay for such upgrades, if that's really what they would cost.

I saw this on the news earlier, and was reading through some of the issues from a bit more balanced a source than the OP, and, as usually, the real issue is more complex than 'we sent a man to the moon and now we can't have nice things!' or 'evil CEOs are making too much!!'. I don't say that PG&E is blameless...from what I've heard, they are about the slimiest power company in the state, if not the country, and have been seriously mismanaged. But the flip side of that is that, like most large power companies, they are a state sponsored monopoly, regulated and to an extent controlled by their states political process.

As a last point, at least from what I read, this was actually a very prudent course as conditions in that part of California are pretty dicey right now, and this was probably the best move they could make. Yeah, it sucks for those affected...millions of houses. But it would suck more if they had another fire in that area right now with those conditions, so anything that might mitigate that has to be seriously considered.
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  #52  
Old 10-09-2019, 10:27 AM
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Is that $30 billion in upgrades figure accurate? If so, then it's not really much of a mystery why they haven't done it, and it has nothing to do with the vast CEO pay (which a quick Google search says is $8 million a year). PG&E's total profit for was $4.38 billion for 2018. Even leaving aside law suits, and if they poured 100% of their profits into upgrades, something they couldn't do, it would take them nearly 10 years to pay for it...and, on the flip side, they would probably be making...well, the same amount. .
Forgive me if I do not know how these things work, but wouldn't they finance the work, then write off most of the cost on their taxes?
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  #53  
Old 10-09-2019, 11:25 AM
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As a last point, at least from what I read, this was actually a very prudent course as conditions in that part of California are pretty dicey right now, and this was probably the best move they could make. Yeah, it sucks for those affected...millions of houses. But it would suck more if they had another fire in that area right now with those conditions, so anything that might mitigate that has to be seriously considered.
Possibly so. However it ironically also contains potential seeds for a reverse disaster. Water companies are scrambling to rent enough generators to power pumping stations in higher elevations. Meanwhile hordes of DIY'ers are preparing to power up personal generators. If this outage lasts the expected ~5 day period( shutdown Wednesday and Thursday, then a few days to painstakingly restore power to all affected ), all it could take is an improperly installed/serviced generator sparking to create a fire. And if the darkened water utilities then also struggle getting enough water to the neighborhood fire hydrants it might get very messy.

This is of course setting aside all the ancillary issues of necessary home medical devices and whatnot.

Last edited by Tamerlane; 10-09-2019 at 11:27 AM.
  #54  
Old 10-09-2019, 11:27 AM
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Is that $30 billion in upgrades figure accurate? If so, then it's not really much of a mystery why they haven't done it, and it has nothing to do with the vast CEO pay (which a quick Google search says is $8 million a year). PG&E's total profit for was $4.38 billion for 2018.
No one (well hardly anyone) is suggesting that they do all of that maintenance immediately. The contention AIUI is that they cheaped out on maintenance over the last X years (presumably to pay the C-suite and keep the stock price up), leading to the current crisis.

So, as is the American capitalist way, they privatized the profits and will likely social the costs.
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Old 10-09-2019, 11:48 AM
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Sacramento Bee says it will 800,000

https://www.sacbee.com/news/californ...235910202.html
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A public safety power shutoff event by PG&E will black out nearly 800,000 customers across 34 Northern California counties starting Wednesday, the utility confirmed in a news release Tuesday afternoon.
Quote:
The utility said with certainty at a 7 p.m. news conference that about 500,000 customers across the north state would be plunged into an engineered blackout between midnight and 4 a.m.
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Blackouts are still planned for the balance of the original 30 counties clustered around the Central Valley and Central Coast before 4 a.m.
Fortunately, my county will not be affected.
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  #56  
Old 10-09-2019, 12:01 PM
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Sacramento Bee says it will 800,000
800,000 customers. According to my local rag, that means 800,000 customer accounts. PG&E has no real idea how many people live in your house, so the probable number is well over a million. How far over is difficult to estimate.

ETA: To put that in perspective, PG&E claimed ~5.4 million customers in 2018 covering ~16 million people.

Last edited by Tamerlane; 10-09-2019 at 12:04 PM.
  #57  
Old 10-09-2019, 12:34 PM
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I'm in the affected area but have not yet lost power. Keeping my fingers crossed but it seems likely I'll lose power sometime today. The strange thing is the weather here is quite mild. Wind speed is about 1 mph.
  #58  
Old 10-09-2019, 01:19 PM
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Bloomberg says this could cost $2.4B and affect 2.4M people (:34 video with text and music, spoken audio at :21)
  #59  
Old 10-09-2019, 02:08 PM
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Forgive me if I do not know how these things work, but wouldn't they finance the work, then write off most of the cost on their taxes?
Writing things off just means deducting the cost from your taxable income, AKA "profit". Sure, you don't pay tax on that money, but that's because you don't have the money anymore.

The company shareholders would much rather have the money and pay some tax on it, than not have it at all.
  #60  
Old 10-09-2019, 02:48 PM
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We put people on the moon and brought them home again fifty years ago. We devised, built and operated multi-use spacefaring vehicles 40 years ago.

But somehow, we have electrical distribution systems in operation that can't safely operate in the SW US environment.
Yeah, OK we actually DO know how to provide power AND avoid falling transmission lines from starting fires. It's actually pretty simple: you put the transmission lines underground. Hey, it even protects them from any fires that DO occur!

Why don't we do this? It costs money. Last I heard it still costs more to bury power lines than string them up on poles. Sometimes there are also issues with landowners and digging.

So, because the US doesn't want to spend money on better infrastructure we're stuck with a system developed in, what, the 1920's? Almost a century old.

Sure, we can slap a little blame in the PG&E executives, but you can also slap a little on the residents/voters of the affected areas who will happily NIMBY reforms into vapor.
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Old 10-09-2019, 02:58 PM
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There is definitely plenty of blame to go around, it's just easier to focus on evil corporations and evil and overpaid CEO's than to see all of the facets of the problem. Sure, you could bury power cables, but as you noted, this costs a lot more and in many cases is nearly impossible to get the rights of way to do so. There can be other engineering issues why it's difficult to do as well, by your NIMBY example is good. As is pointing out that often it's the government and elected officials who are a major part of the problem.

I don't think this lets PG&E off the hook in any way, shape or form...but it's not 'capitalism' that's the root cause in this case. The government has set up this loopy half capitalist half government mandated system, where utilities like PG&E are quasi government agencies with protected and even mandated monopolies that allow price fixing and all sorts of other questionable things. As with many things in the US, this system straddles the fence between free market and government run, and gives us the worst of both worlds. One has but to look at our healthcare system to see more examples of this.
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  #62  
Old 10-09-2019, 03:55 PM
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Is that $30 billion in upgrades figure accurate?
No, that was my misreading of the OP's article--the $30 billion was the potential cost from lawsuits from the last fire. I don't know how much securing all their lines (moving them underground?) would cost--but it wouldn't be cheap, or quick.
  #63  
Old 10-09-2019, 05:23 PM
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Coastal city problems.
  #64  
Old 10-09-2019, 06:15 PM
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Coastal city problems.
Not sure what this means. Most of the customers we're talking about are pretty far from the coast. As in hours by freeway in good traffic from the coast. My job is in Placer County, and is affected by this. I can be in Nevada faster than I can get to the coast.
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  #65  
Old 10-09-2019, 07:49 PM
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Not sure what this means. Most of the customers we're talking about are pretty far from the coast. As in hours by freeway in good traffic from the coast. My job is in Placer County, and is affected by this. I can be in Nevada faster than I can get to the coast.
To someone with a location of "within", you are coastal. And I'm sure, an elite. Too bad for you. Flyover country sheds not a tear. Don't live in CA if you want our sympathies.

</sarcasm off>
  #66  
Old 10-10-2019, 12:13 AM
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Coastal city problems.

Let's not contribute to the bad reputation Americans have concerning geography.
  #67  
Old 10-10-2019, 12:32 AM
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One of the (many) underlying problems is that those coastal cities are actually safer from this kind of thing, but it's illegal to build homes in them, so new homes get pushed out into the places that are drier and hotter and right up against the wildland.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 10-10-2019 at 12:33 AM.
  #68  
Old 10-10-2019, 03:18 PM
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AP story here.

This is happening in America. In a country that likes to flatter itself as "exceptional" and the most advanced, most prosperous country that has ever existed.The power is being shut off because PG&E can't guarantee that their equipment can operate safely. In 2019. In America.
Safety? They don't give a flying fuck about safety. It's all about liability.
  #69  
Old 10-10-2019, 05:32 PM
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Oh I know they only care about safety as far as it concerns their liability; that's American business. But safety also means in my own self-interest sometimes, as in this case. They can't charge people for power if they can't deliver power and they look especially stupid if they can't deliver power because they didn't plan their power delivery business well enough to do the thing they say they do. But they know they look smarter if they don't do the thing they say they do on purpose, rather than because their shoddy equipment caused actual damage to something and/or someone.

Speaking of safety: there are no traffic lights in the locations where power was shut off. I hear that police are acting as traffic directors in some places, but that surely has to tax the hell out of available manpower; it could mean that other things aren't getting done. Just another cost of this fiasco.
  #70  
Old 10-10-2019, 06:30 PM
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One of the (many) underlying problems is that those coastal cities are actually safer from this kind of thing, but it's illegal to build homes in them, so new homes get pushed out into the places that are drier and hotter and right up against the wildland.
I'm not following. Generally, at least on the West Coast, it isn't true that you can't build on the coast (you can't "own" the beach, which isn't the same thing). What we see here is urban sprawl as more people move into job centers, like Silicon Valley, and homes are built farther and farther out to accommodate that.
  #71  
Old 10-10-2019, 07:32 PM
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They can't charge people for power if they can't deliver power ...
Sure they can. If you're a monopoly, you can create fees like a 'base service charge', etc. which you add to the bill before any charges for actual electricity they use. (On my bill, those charges amount to 34% of the total electricity bill.)

Does anybody believe that PG&E is going to reimburse customers any part of their monthly 'basic service charge' for the days that PG&E failed to provide this basic service?
  #72  
Old 10-10-2019, 07:46 PM
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I'm not following. Generally, at least on the West Coast, it isn't true that you can't build on the coast (you can't "own" the beach, which isn't the same thing). What we see here is urban sprawl as more people move into job centers, like Silicon Valley, and homes are built farther and farther out to accommodate that.
I'm not quite sure exactly what Lord Feldon was getting at, but I assume he might be talking about the regulatory and other difficulties of building new housing in many California cities.

It is incredibly difficult to build new housing, especially the type of higher-density housing needed in California, in many of California's largest cities. In some areas, zoning ordinances prohibit or limit the building of multi-family dwellings. If you can build them, ordinances requiring a certain number of parking spaces often drive up the cost of construction and tend to make it more likely that developers will focus on larger, high-end apartments rather than smaller, middle-income housing. City councils often make the approval process for new construction incredibly arduous, expensive, and time-consuming, helping to maintain scarcity and further driving up costs. NIMBYs who want their neighborhoods to look exactly the same as they did 40 years ago will also protest against new development, and these NIMBYs are only encouraged in this behavior by the fact that the lack of new housing only causes their own housing values to skyrocket even further. And if you finally get approval to build, you might then find yourself stymied by activists demanding environmental impact studies, or a larger number of guaranteed low-income units, or some other reason to stop you.

I'm not arguing that the impediments to new housing are always unreasonable, but many of them are, and they prevent the one thing that would do more than anything else to improve housing affordability: the building of new housing units. Study after economic study shows that increasing supply is far better for reducing housing costs overall than solutions like rent control and mandated numbers of low-income units. Rent control certainly helps the people who manage to get rent-controlled housing, but it tends to drive up the market rates for non-regulated housing units, and has a bunch of other problematic effects, like discouraging landlords from improving their properties, and pushing some landlords to convert rental properties to upmarket condos, which tends to make things even harder to low and middle income people looking for housing.

I consider myself a lefty. I believe that everyone should have a place to live, and that people at the bottom of the economic ladder should get help in paying for it. But the way that many California cities—and many other cities in America—deal with the housing affordability crisis is a head-in-the-sand set of solutions that often makes things worse for the very people they're trying to help.
  #73  
Old 10-10-2019, 08:06 PM
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What we see here is urban sprawl as more people move into job centers, like Silicon Valley, and homes are built farther and farther out to accommodate that.
They're built farther and farther out because that's the only legal way to build houses. It's basically impossible, due to various NIMBY crap, to build homes where people want to live, so they get shoved out into places like Antioch or Brentwood where it's 95 degrees for half the year.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 10-10-2019 at 08:10 PM.
  #74  
Old 10-10-2019, 08:30 PM
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This broke earlier today: PG&E loses exclusive control of bankruptcy
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PG&E Corp. shares plunged as it grappled with a court ruling that threatens to put the fate of the bankrupt power giant in the hands of outsiders and perhaps wipe out the stock.
The shares dropped as much as 32% Thursday after U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali stripped PG&E the previous day of exclusive control over its recovery process.
The decision escalates an already-heated battle for control of the largest utility bankruptcy in U.S. history. Montali agreed to let bondholders including Pacific Investment Management Co. and Elliott Management Corp. pitch their own restructuring plan alongside PG&E's, so they can both come up with ways the utility could deal with an estimated $30 billion in wildfire liabilities.
Quote:
The loss of exclusivity is the latest twist in a massive bankruptcy case that has already attracted some of the biggest names in the financial world. A group led by Pimco and Elliott has devised a plan that would all but obliterate the stake of current shareholders in the utility.
Then the article gets complicated, including detailed financial back-and-forths and with appeals to emotion:
Quote:
Political and public relations considerations could also emerge if pension funds, workers and individual shareholders with sympathetic stories weigh in.
"This would be devastating for my retirement," shareholder Andreas Krebs of San Francisco wrote to the judge a day before the ruling. "Please consider the average person that has invested their hard-earned retirement money into PG&E. I don't even know how to address the greed and gall of these creditors that would want to wipe out average people's savings in order to profit by taking over PG&E."
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Old 10-10-2019, 09:15 PM
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For those of you who haven't lived (don't live in) Cali, unlike most of the rest of the country, late September and early October can be some of the hottest months of the entire year. It can be brutal heat, easily exceeding 90 and 100 degrees, and with climate change, the extreme heat has been hanging around longer. Not being able to plug in so much as a fan is going to suck bigly.
  #76  
Old 10-11-2019, 11:57 AM
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The blackouts are primarily due to PG&E mismanagement. There are a few instances of other power providers having to cut power, but the extent and duration of those outages is much smaller. There are 1.5 million people without power, and some of them will be that way for five days.

To illustrate that this is primarily a PG&E problem, we can look to some of the other power utilities in the region. SMUD, which powers Sacramento and some nearby areas, did not have outages. Roseville Energy, which powers Roseville in the neighboring county had no power outages. "But Hooker," you say, "SMUD and RE power a primarily urban area without forested areas like where the Camp fire was last year." Okay, we'll overlook the rural service areas or the fact that SMUD is getting power from sources in the Sierra mountains.
Let's look at some rural service areas, like Gridley (50 miles north of Sacramento and 50 miles south of Paradise, the town wiped out by the Camp Fire) and the Plumas Sierra Rural Electric Cooperation. These are small rural providers. Gridley is less than a quarter of the population that Paradise was. PSREC is a a multi-jurisdictional provider for rural areas in the Sierra Mountains. Neither had power disruption during the PG&E outages. Gridley being wholly surrounded by PG&E service areas and getting their power along similar pathways to PG&E. PSREC is in the mountains, which is where some of the line service issues are worst.
Finally, there's the City of Biggs. They're another city with their own power agency. They're between two PG&E blackout areas, but they didn't have to cut power. However, if you were in unincorporated Biggs, where PG&E is the power provider, you were in a blackout area.

The blackouts are PG&E's fault for years of poor system maintenance. Just like San Bruno was their fault for years of poor system maintenance.
  #77  
Old 10-11-2019, 12:04 PM
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Recent headline: PG&E gas employees wined & dined just before mass power outages. Thanks for your service, and keep on truckin'!
  #78  
Old 10-12-2019, 05:54 AM
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This broke earlier today: PG&E loses exclusive control of bankruptcyThen the article gets complicated, including detailed financial back-and-forths and with appeals to emotion:
Didn't PG&E already go bankrupt following the Enron fraud? Why would the "average person" have "invested their hard-earned retirement money into PG&E" again? At least, to an extent that significantly wipes out their savings.

Last edited by DPRK; 10-12-2019 at 05:55 AM.
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Old 10-12-2019, 08:23 AM
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Didn't PG&E already go bankrupt following the Enron fraud? Why would the "average person" have "invested their hard-earned retirement money into PG&E" again? At least, to an extent that significantly wipes out their savings.
At least for a lot of them, because their financial advisor told them it was a good 'widows and orphans' stock, probably due to the dividend (I'm assuming a dividend pre-bankruptcy, haven't looked it up).

And that is one of the big problems with privatizing Social Security - the average person isn't going to do due diligence on whoever/whatever/wherever they invest their money.
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Old 10-12-2019, 10:25 AM
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PG&E's total profit for was $4.38 billion for 2018.
That number is much too high. The gross income is:
2014 $2.54 Billion
2015 $2.38 Billion
2016 $2.89 Billion
2017 $2.98 Billion
2018 $2.32 Billion

But then you subtract the Interest Expense and Unusual Expenses (wildfires) you get prextax income of:
2014 $1.8 Billion
2015 $861 Million
2016 $1.46 Billion
2017 $2.17 Billion
2018 $10.13 Billion loss
https://www.marketwatch.com/investin...pcg/financials

So a massive maintenance program cannot be financed out of PG&E's profits; electricity prices would have to increase substantially.

Last edited by PastTense; 10-12-2019 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 10-12-2019, 10:40 AM
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That number is much too high. The gross income is:
2014 $2.54 Billion
2015 $2.38 Billion
2016 $2.89 Billion
2017 $2.98 Billion
2018 $2.32 Billion

But then you subtract the Interest Expense and Unusual Expenses (wildfires) you get prextax income of:
2014 $1.8 Billion
2015 $861 Million
2016 $1.46 Billion
2017 $2.17 Billion
2018 $10.13 Billion loss
https://www.marketwatch.com/investin...pcg/financials

So a massive maintenance program cannot be financed out of PG&E's profits; electricity prices would have to increase substantially.
It looks like they could have been spending a lot more on maintenance, prior to the lack of maintenance causing the disaster in 2018.
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Old 10-12-2019, 03:38 PM
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Neglecting maintenance is nothing new for PG&E.

We live in Sacramento. Our electricity is provided by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD). SMUD came into being in 1923, when the city voted to create their own community owned, not-for-profit utility. in order to do so, they would purchase the infrastructure from PG&E.

It was 23 years later, in March 1946, that the California Supreme Court rejected PG&E's last petition to halt the sale, and the purchase finally went ahead. At that point, the electrical distribution system that SMUD acquired was a patchwork of disparate systems that had been merged together over the years by PG&E, with some of it dating back to 1895.

So this is really just business as usual for PG&E...and since they are "too big to fail", it's hard to envision anything changing any time soon.
  #83  
Old 10-12-2019, 05:30 PM
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Live updates: PG&E says power restored to 99% of customer accounts in Bay Area

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8:52 p.m. Power restored to 97% of customer accounts statewide: PG&E said 97% of customer accounts that were impacted by its shutoff had their power restored. Roughly 21,000 customer accounts remain without power, PG&E officials said. Restoration efforts are expected to continue through “daybreak” Saturday.
  #84  
Old 10-12-2019, 06:42 PM
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What about all the money their clients lost because they chose to pre-emptively shut off the power?

What if I lost, say, four days pay because the company I work at cannot run without electricity? What about the freezer full of food that I now basically have to throw out?

Do they just get to shrug and say Sucks to be you?
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Old 10-12-2019, 06:46 PM
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Do they just get to shrug and say Sucks to be you?
As I understand it - pretty much, yes. They have very wide latitude to act in the name of safety.

Last edited by Tamerlane; 10-12-2019 at 06:47 PM.
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Old 10-12-2019, 07:03 PM
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Neglecting maintenance is nothing new for PG&E.

We live in Sacramento. Our electricity is provided by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD). SMUD came into being in 1923, when the city voted to create their own community owned, not-for-profit utility. in order to do so, they would purchase the infrastructure from PG&E.

It was 23 years later, in March 1946, that the California Supreme Court rejected PG&E's last petition to halt the sale, and the purchase finally went ahead. At that point, the electrical distribution system that SMUD acquired was a patchwork of disparate systems that had been merged together over the years by PG&E, with some of it dating back to 1895.

So this is really just business as usual for PG&E...and since they are "too big to fail", it's hard to envision anything changing any time soon.
Several years ago, SMUD wanted to expand operation into Yolo County, across the river from Sacramento County. PG&E spent a fortune fighting it, and it lost at the polls.
  #87  
Old 10-12-2019, 07:05 PM
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PG&E employees had a big party at a winery with 50 of their top customers just a day or two before the shutoffs.
https://www.sfchronicle.com/business...e-14512194.php
  #88  
Old 10-12-2019, 07:41 PM
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... But let's not let PG&E off the hook for getting itself into these circumstances in the first place. They've spent a decade or more cheaping out on maintaining and upgrading their equipment in favor of bigger profits. They're in this position due to their own mismanagement.
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Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
Not surprising that those who support PG&E live thousands of miles away from California. The San Bruno explosion was the first hint. They got lots of money approved to check out gas pipelines, and stuffed it all into profits. So they had no idea of what lines were where, overpressurized some, and boom. People dead.

Yeah, trimming trees near power lines is a big job. Which they had money for. But it inflates the bonuses of the execs if the money isn't spent.
After the fires they can afford to spring for ads every five minutes on local stations on how first responders just love PG&E. Yeah, they create interesting disasters. Or how to escape from fires PG&E starts. It's not like it builds business - maybe they can use some of that budget to trim more trees.
....
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Originally Posted by Tim@T-Bonham.net View Post
...Just like all the profit-draining "investor owned" utilities, they were fighting tooth & nail against customer-provided renewable power. Adding every kind of bureaucratic obstacle and dragging their feet every time they could. And counting on their bought-and-paid-for friends on the regulatory commission or in local building inspectors to interfere whenever they could. ...
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Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo View Post
...Speaking of safety: there are no traffic lights in the locations where power was shut off. I hear that police are acting as traffic directors in some places, but that surely has to tax the hell out of available manpower; it could mean that other things aren't getting done. Just another cost of this fiasco.
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Originally Posted by HookerChemical View Post
...The blackouts are PG&E's fault for years of poor system maintenance. Just like San Bruno was their fault for years of poor system maintenance.
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Originally Posted by Musicat View Post
Recent headline: PG&E gas employees wined & dined just before mass power outages. Thanks for your service, and keep on truckin'!

To summarize these posts: PG&E, by many accounts, prioritized uses for revenues---executive pay among them---over needed-but-neglected maintenance and upgrading of equipment.

The semi-governmental-monopoly aspect of PG&E's structure makes this situation a massive transfer of wealth from homeowners in areas served by PG&E---areas which appear almost certain to undergo additional power outages this year and for years to come---to PG&E executives and shareholders, as property values drop precipitously.

If you own property in an affected area, you will not be able to sell it for the price you would have been able to command in the absence of these power cuts.

This will affect not only wealthy homeowners, but plenty of less-prosperous ones, too. The value of their property has been damaged through no fault of their own. They are subsidizing the bad decisions of PG&E executives.

Last edited by Sherrerd; 10-12-2019 at 07:42 PM.
  #89  
Old 10-12-2019, 08:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StarvingButStrong
What about all the money their clients lost because they chose to pre-emptively shut off the power?

What if I lost, say, four days pay because the company I work at cannot run without electricity? What about the freezer full of food that I now basically have to throw out?

Do they just get to shrug and say Sucks to be you?
Yes, and your insurance agent will say the same thing as there was no actual adverse covered event such as a power line melted by wildfire, or a power plant failure. The economic losses from this one event will easily be in the billions. Lost food, lost wages, more car wrecks than usual, and there's been at least one death attributed to the PSPS.

The only winners are the folks who sell generators. I also would not be surprised to see people suddenly take interest in who their power company will be when they move, and an address served by SMUD will be preferred over one served by PG&E.
  #90  
Old 10-13-2019, 05:06 AM
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Originally Posted by StarvingButStrong View Post
What about all the money their clients lost because they chose to pre-emptively shut off the power?

What if I lost, say, four days pay because the company I work at cannot run without electricity? What about the freezer full of food that I now basically have to throw out?
The store where I work has some pretty large generators standing by for power outages. They can run the freezers/coolers for awhile. We have monthly "generator tests" in the wee hours to make sure everything is ready to go and functional. Purchasing, setting up, and just as importantly maintaining them in a state of readiness is not cheap. The company I work for is large enough that they can easily cover this, but for a small business? That may not be feasible. Some sort of generator, yes, but one large enough to really save stock and keep going for the better part of a week? Hard to say. You need fuel for those suckers, too. And a safe means to store it on-site.
  #91  
Old 10-13-2019, 05:31 AM
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From what I hear, they are estimating business losses in the billions. PG&E is not popular right now.
  #92  
Old 10-13-2019, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Tamerlane View Post
As I understand it - pretty much, yes. They have very wide latitude to act in the name of safety.
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Originally Posted by gotpasswords View Post
Yes, and your insurance agent will say the same thing as there was no actual adverse covered event such as a power line melted by wildfire, or a power plant failure. The economic losses from this one event will easily be in the billions. Lost food, lost wages, more car wrecks than usual, and there's been at least one death attributed to the PSPS.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
The company I work for is large enough that they can easily cover this, but for a small business? That may not be feasible. Some sort of generator, yes, but one large enough to really save stock and keep going for the better part of a week? Hard to say. You need fuel for those suckers, too. And a safe means to store it on-site.

Geez. Just another 'screw the little guy' situation, I guess. It's not bad enough suffering without lights/heat/air for days on end, but they get to take who knows how much money out of your pocket and skip merrily away from the mess?

I don't know what I'd do if I lived in one of their areas. A report I heard said these types of blackouts might be an on-going thing, year after year???
  #93  
Old 10-13-2019, 09:52 AM
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It will be an on-going thing only if the customers and citizens of California allow PG&E to continue to operate the way it has been. FFS, the current American economic model is not sustainable.
  #94  
Old 10-13-2019, 01:10 PM
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The governor and other leaders are very vocally upset about this. I expect there will be changes pushed through the legislature.
  #95  
Old 10-13-2019, 04:04 PM
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Is it any surprise that the land of turds and needles can't clear a few trees to keep the lights on?
  #96  
Old 10-13-2019, 05:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StarvingButStrong View Post
I don't know what I'd do if I lived in one of their areas. A report I heard said these types of blackouts might be an on-going thing, year after year???
It'll only be on-going until PG&E gets the rate increase they are asking for -- the increase so the customers will pay f(again) or doing the needed maintenance that PG&E has been deferring so they can spend the money on executive bonuses, stockholder dividends, and wining & dining their executive employees.

And they'll probably want to slip some language in there to ensure PG&E is exempt from liability for damages from any new wildfires they start -- classify them as 'acts of God' or something else exempt from lawsuits.
  #97  
Old 10-13-2019, 06:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim@T-Bonham.net View Post

And they'll probably want to slip some language in there to ensure PG&E is exempt from liability for damages from any new wildfires they start -- classify them as 'acts of God' or something else exempt from lawsuits.
You're not that far off. California has a legal doctrine called inverse condemnation that holds PG&E accountable for damages even if they weren't negligent per se. Proper safety checks made, but PG&E equipment still caused a fire due to an act of God? PG&E pays. It's why PG&E is on the hook for every single fire they cause, no matter how good their maintenance is. They have a very strong incentive to cut power as conservatively and broadly as possible because every disaster that can be sourced to them, costs them.

There has been some talk of changing that to "at fault" only damages, which then shifts costs to insurers and home owners( who ultimately take most of the cost with higher premiums ). However it is ALREADY very difficult and expensive to get fire insurance in a lot of California. And it might require a constitutional amendment( CA constitution )to change the law.

And of course PG&E IS at fault much of the time, because they're a shitty utility that has traditionally skimped on trained labor and necessary repairs to maximize shareholder profits.

Last edited by Tamerlane; 10-13-2019 at 06:18 PM.
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