PG&E’s Preemptive Power Cuts are Ridiculous and Mostly Unsupportable

Residents in Santa Cruz County, California are being advised their power will be cut today as the power company, PG&E is worried their transmission and distribution lines may cause a fire. Red flag warnings are in place today but predicted winds don’t support the premise of a preemptive power blackout.

— PG&E is warning affected residents to utilize land lines (?) if they need emergency medical assistance or need police or fire assistance. PG&E is advising those without power to expect up to FIVE DAYS without power and should stock up on canned meats and canned foods. Resident with ongoing medical issues are being advised to RELOCATE during the red flag precautionary power shut down.
This my friends is unnecessary. It’s an overreaction to the Camp Fire in Paradise last November that PG&E admits their lines caused.
However state fire and the power company officials know the fire that devoured Paradise was caused by a seasonal wind particular to the west slope northern Sierras north of Sacramento.

Similar to Santa Ana winds in SoCal Mono winds are downhill (Katabatic), compressed hot, low humid air.
There are no such seasonal winds dynamics on the central or northern California coast.

Cutting power preemptively in Santa Cruz County seems more a a political stunt than smart fire management. This is an unbalanced reaction to a problem that does not exist. PG&E lines don’t cause fires absent a wind or significant meteorological event or a vehicle hitting a power pole. 

Californians deserve better than to have their power cut arbitrarily.

*FWIW – I worked as a fire captain in rural Santa Cruz County and never responded to a wildland fire ignited by PG&E lines.

Check out this this map to view areas PG&E has deemed too dangerous to provide power to during this red flag warning.