California Faces "Biggest Blackout Ever" As 2.5 Million PG&E Customers May Have No Power For Days

From zerohedge

by Tyler Durden

Fri, 10/25/2019 – 19:00

Earlier this week we joked that with PG&E now scrambling to enforce intentional blackouts every time there are powerful winds for fears the bankrupt company’s aged infrastructure could cause a new fire, “every time the wind blows California will become Venezuela.”

Turns out it wasn’t a joke.

On Friday, with its stock crashing to a new all time low amid speculation it may have been responsible for the latest California inferno, the Kincade Fire

… PG&E warned it will shut off power again on Saturday to as many as 2.5 million people as violent winds batter the state, in what according to Bloomberg will be “California’s largest intentional blackout ever.”

According to a Friday statement, approximately 850,000 homes and businesses in Northern California, including much of the San Francisco Bay Area, may be impacted beginning Saturday evening. And with data models indicating the weather event could be the most powerful in California in decades, with widespread dry Northeast winds between 45-60 miles per hour (mph) and peak gusts of 60-70 mph in the higher elevations through Monday, large swaths of the region could be without power for days.

CPUC threat map

California Fire-Threat Maps, source: CPUC

“The upcoming wind event has the potential to be one of the strongest in the last several years. It’s also likely to be longer than recent wind events, which have lasted about 12 hours or less,” said Scott Strenfel, Principal Meteorologist with PG&E.

The potentially record outage will impact parts of Oakland, Berkeley, San Jose and Marin County. As usual, the city of San Francisco will not be affected, in order to make it easier for pedestrians to avoid stepping into the human faces covering the city’s sidewalks. The full list of affected counties can be found at the following page.

The hot and windy weather event is expected to begin impacting the service area Saturday between 6 and 10 p.m. and lasting until midday Monday, although as of late Friday, PG&E said it has not yet made a definite decision whether it will cut power.

As Bloomberg notes, this would be the third time this month alone that bankrupt PG&E – terrified of potentially sparking another multi-billion dollar blaze – has resorted to massive outages to prevent its power lines from sparking fires in high winds. The company’s aged equipment sparked blazes in 2017 and 2018, saddling the company with an estimated $30 billion in liabilities and forcing it into bankruptcy at the start of 2019. However, leaving millions in the dark has led to debate over how far California must go to prevent fires during windstorms. And despite the shutoffs, fires continue to burn.

Despite recent intentional outages, earlier on Friday California governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency as wildfires are now raging at both ends of California. Near Los Angeles, blazes have prompted authorities to order 40,000 evacuations. And north of San Francisco, a blaze is raging amid the vineyards of Sonoma County.

Full article here


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October 26, 2019 6:07 am

I know this is all Trump’s fault, but how?

Reply to  wws
October 26, 2019 6:40 am

“wws October 26, 2019 at 6:07 am
I know this is all Trump’s fault, but how?”

As a rule of thumb, all things bad are the result of climate change that Trump could have stopped with the paris accord but didn’t; but in this case, the other 50%, at the least, derives from the Jerry Brown principle that in the age of climate change, governments don’t really have to govern as long as they take the high road, the planet saving road, to preach climate action and villify Trump

John McClure
Reply to  chaamjamal
October 26, 2019 9:14 am

As a rule of thumb, always check the data.

PG&E’s outage map is updated every 30 minutes.

John McClure
Reply to  John McClure
October 26, 2019 10:03 am

California Energy Service Area Map

The Fire-threat area includes other energy providers.

Reply to  chaamjamal
October 26, 2019 3:29 pm

Perhaps forest management such as controlled burn offs of debris and fire breaks etc. such as was done until some years, ago is the answer.

Reply to  Roger Surf
October 27, 2019 9:00 am

Your comment deserves a thousand “likes”

sir padre
Reply to  Roger Surf
October 27, 2019 9:26 am

“But if you do that you might disturb a rat burrow, kill a tortoise, disturb birds nesting….., oh, the humanity!”
any liberal nutjob

Dave Lewis
Reply to  chaamjamal
October 28, 2019 8:20 am

The USA has been cutting emissions under trump (nat gas for coal) while Europe’s have been increasing, despite destroying their economy to please the green gods. They are in the patis accord, the USA is not.
So I would say you critic is flawed .Inconvenient facts, I know, but facts never the less.

John Endicott
Reply to  Dave Lewis
October 28, 2019 10:38 am

Never let facts get in the way of the climate catastrophe narrative.

Reply to  wws
October 26, 2019 6:55 am

This really does boil down to who gets the blame. If the blame can be shifted to the government, my guess is that the government will fall.

The power blackouts and the third world conditions on the streets of LA and SF are hard to ignore. When push comes to shove, people will switch their opinions and allegiances.

We desperately need conservatives who don’t think it’s a good idea to sound like meat heads. IHMO, Jordan Peterson and a few others are providing us with the vocabulary to create a conservative position that will appeal to previously left leaning voters.

Stuart Nachman
Reply to  commieBob
October 26, 2019 7:56 am

You might enjoy this tale of conversion from a credentialed former Democrat.

Reply to  commieBob
October 26, 2019 9:40 am

Commie- I can only assume you don’t actually live IN CA? I do. And I assure you there is NOTHING … NOTHING … that can turn this blue state red. The vast majority of the population of this State are completely mindless leftists with the very BEST education you can get … from a “women’s studies” degree. I am surrounded by highly paid, highly “educated” simpleton leftists who are giving advice on the Nextdoor app for how to “prepare” for this latest power outage. These power outages are like a summer camp game for the woke Global warmist eco-rubes surrounding me. This State is doomed. Not worth the good weather anymore … BTW it’s been beautiful, sunny, and warm all week. Ideal conditions for a PG&E sparked fire.

Reply to  Kenji
October 26, 2019 10:22 am

No, I sure don’t live in California.

Surprisingly, the majority of Californians don’t have a four year degree.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb describes the Intellectual Yet Idiot (IYI).

these self-described members of the “intelligentsia” can’t find a coconut in Coconut Island, meaning they aren’t intelligent enough to define intelligence hence fall into circularities — but their main skill is capacity to pass exams written by people like them. link

Reply to  commieBob
October 26, 2019 1:03 pm

I live in an upper, upper, upper, middle class community where (literally) 95% of our high school graduates go to college. My community is flooded with young people, with high paying jobs, starting families with young children and who are fleeing the multi-culti urban wasteland they thought was so kewl. Not for their kids though … they won’t dare put their kids in the multi-culti public schools.

So, yeah, with the massive illegal invasion from the south … the overall state isn’t too well-educated. But no matter. “Educated” (by leftist propaganda factories) or not … this State is populated by a supermajority of numbskulls who “believe” that a “high speed” train will magically “transform” CA into a Euro-wonderland where nobody needs single occupant motor vehicles. FAIL! Voting $B’s on a unicorn and rainbow pipe dream, err nightmare … solidifies the fact that the vast majority of voters in CA are dumb. Really dumb. Really woke. And really dangerous leftist automatons.

Nothing will change here … except for the WORSE.

Andy Espersen
Reply to  Kenji
October 26, 2019 10:58 am

“The state is doomed”, Kenji.

Go East. There will be an exodus soon.

Reply to  Andy Espersen
October 26, 2019 11:10 am

Which is why Trump needs to extend the wall right around California first.

Those who destroy their states need to stay there, not move on to destroy other peoples’ states.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Andy Espersen
October 26, 2019 5:29 pm

I recon it won’t be long before there are more Mexicans than Americans in CA. Then CA can be given back to Mexico.

sir padre
Reply to  Andy Espersen
October 27, 2019 9:28 am

Go East, but leave your politics BEHIND.

John Endicott
Reply to  Andy Espersen
October 28, 2019 10:42 am

Go East only if you can leave your leftist politics behind (or if you are one of the few in Cali who don’t subscribe to leftist politics). Otherwise stay in the hellhole you created and deserve.

Bill Powers
Reply to  Kenji
October 26, 2019 11:00 am

Kenji, people don’t revolt on an full stomach.

But if the government forces the food in the freezer to go bad and stomachs are rumbling while they sit there in the dark with hopes that they can solar charge their iPhones in the daylight only to realize that there is no WiFi then things will get very dicey for the leftist loons in la la land.

So far their have not been wide spread ramifications for the hard charging leftists. Let’s us see what tomorrow brings. My only fear is that the leftist will leave first and move east like a locust plague voting the rest of the country into oblivion.

Reply to  Kenji
October 26, 2019 1:03 pm

California used to be a republican stronghold , just as Texas used to be a Democrat one.

And yes California had wildfires when the republicans were in charge. Is the weather and the vegetation that are responsible , not Trump , Democrats , not PG&E

Reply to  pinokio
October 26, 2019 7:35 pm

its the regulations barring PG&E from keeping the ground underneath their high voltage lines BARREN that causes most of the fires

These HV fires simply wouldn’t happen at all if they were allowed to blacken the soil beneath the lines. But they aren’t… they have to maintain native vegetation etc.

Reply to  Kenji
October 26, 2019 3:01 pm

The best thing to do is to LEAVE, leave the politics behind. I pity these people’s kids. They’re going to be brainwashed, deluded fools grafted into place in upper “middle” income careers after trashing actual free speech in college. Irony. Meritocracy is a myth. Take the endowments.

Scott Vines
Reply to  commieBob
October 26, 2019 10:23 am

I don’t care about “appealing” to Leftist voters. They are lost as far as I’m concerned. This happened when they abandoned logic and reason. The only option left is total war and conquest. We are done talking.

Reply to  commieBob
October 26, 2019 10:59 am


Also remember Cal’s high electricity rates and high gas prices. Those are clearly by-design outcomes of Cal Democrat’s governance. People there will understand that next November. And as an Arizonan right next door, I remind my neighbors and friends that can happen here if AZ goes blue like the Democrats are trying to do.

All Politics Are Local. And many Californians are now realizing that as the rich don’t care about $5/gal gas, high electric bills and blackouts as they have $30,000 – $50,000 generators installed on their mansions.

Mark E Shulgasser
Reply to  commieBob
October 26, 2019 1:55 pm

Correct — the meatheaded remark about feces in San Francisco streets makes this informative article unsharable.

Reply to  Mark E Shulgasser
October 27, 2019 3:49 pm

I haven’t been to CA in half a century so I have to rely on the media for what’s going on there.

I think the majority of Americans would be appalled at the pictures of the conditions in parts of SF and LA.

John Endicott
Reply to  Mark E Shulgasser
October 28, 2019 10:48 am

What’s “meatheat” about the truth? There is feces in San Francisco streets. Your denying it doesn’t make it any less real.
Here’s an article about it from that well know “meathead” organ npr:

Reply to  commieBob
October 27, 2019 11:14 pm

No democrat government will ever accept blame or
be accused by the media of failing to protect the public.

Reply to  wws
October 26, 2019 7:03 am

Easy. Trump won’t demand reductions in CO2. More CO2 results in faster and greater plant growth. That leads to more branches and foliage close to power lines. Wind, sparks, fuel = fires.

Call it Six Degrees of Donald Trump. We could also call it Six Degrees of Climate (warming, change, choas, atastrophe, weirding – I’m not sure what’s in vogue).

Every ill in the world is linked to one or both of them (by IQ-challenged people).

Reply to  jtom
October 26, 2019 8:41 am

I’m not sure what’s in vogue

Climate Collusion? Climate Obstruction?

Reply to  jtom
October 26, 2019 8:43 am

In the UK the new degrees are of ” Climate Breakdown ” courtesy of the Extinction Rebellion team

Reply to  wws
October 26, 2019 7:57 am

Does it matter? The reality is as China gets ever better the United States continues to sink. California is just a harbinger of what is coming to every state. Why, wIl this be the case? The reason should be obvious. Meritocracy has taken a back seat to placating the ever growing numbers of dumb – the core weakness of a true democracy. Sadly, China will continue becoming stronger as the Congress, military, academics and government ranks swelled with dumb continue to guy the nation from the inside out. The US is like a turtle with its head cut off. It’s dead, but hasn’t figured it out yet.

steve case
Reply to  wws
October 26, 2019 8:36 am

Forest management has a lot to do with it:
The Federalist
Image from the article:
Yosemite then and now

And the left’s screeching about the Spotted Owl:
For decades, up until the 1970s, California would harvest and replant about as much wood as could be grown through an abundance of sunshine, snow, and rain. But in the 1990s, concern over logging’s effect on the spotted owl (largely misplaced, as time would tell) led to a massive slowdown in the timber harvest, especially on the federal lands that make up about 60 percent of California’s forests.

Then there’s the various bans on gathering fire wood: DuckDuckGo Search

The left has been at their brand of environmentalism for years, and when the fires burn out of control they blame everything and everybody but themselves

Reply to  steve case
October 26, 2019 8:44 am

Spot on!

Jeremiah Puckett
Reply to  wws
October 26, 2019 9:16 am

It’s Bush’s fault.

Reply to  wws
October 27, 2019 7:32 am

California wild fires would be history if they simply buried underground their high tension lines.

Reply to  Xerxe
October 28, 2019 9:39 pm

Unfortunately this causes weeks and month long outages for rural areas cause you cant tell where breaks in lines form during earthquakes.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Xerxe
November 2, 2019 8:50 pm


“you cant tell where breaks in lines form during earthquakes.”

What’s not to like with safety switches.

Anyway, UK government banned fracking in behalf of “earthquakes”.

That’s kinda reversal, shift in the burden of proof.

The, whoever accused has to proof his lack of guilt.

Better preemptive show concern about possible guilt and await mercy.

October 26, 2019 6:14 am

The consequences of bad thinking can be so hilarious.

Reply to  RoHo
October 26, 2019 7:58 am

The consequences of bad political choices are tragic.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
October 26, 2019 10:07 am

The consequences of affirmative-action hiring practices for decades at PG&E are tragic. The best and the brightest are working elsewhere. And I’m talking about in the office buildings, not in the trucks. The executives have mismanaged this behemoth … resulting in this tragic regression of our society.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
October 26, 2019 1:57 pm

And let me emphasize that my comment above is NOT racist”. It is “meritist”. PG&E should be operated by the best and the brightest … not by someone who checks a particular box on some “equity” form. If PG&E becomes 90% Asian … that would be fine with me … if those were the most qualified people.

However, when PG&E is sooooooo woke and soooooo proud of the “FIRST latinix CEO” … who proceeds to crash the company into utter FAILURE and bankruptcy … I’ve had ENOUGH of affirmative-action “woke” hiring practices. Oh … and that latinix CEO? She grabbed her multi-million dollar golden parachute and quit the company before her affirmative-action label could be sullied by a humiliating FIRING. She grabbed about $4M to voluntarily go-away … right BEFORE PG&E announced their bankruptcy. Again, so her affirmative-action “cred” wouldn’t be sullied. Fact is … the “FIRST latinix CEO of PG&E” completely DESTROYED the company and monopolistic Public Utility.

she grabbed her

Snarling Dolphin
October 26, 2019 6:19 am

The winds are just blowing like winds do. It’s the nut jobs who are battering the state.

J Mac
Reply to  Snarling Dolphin
October 26, 2019 11:15 am

Truth, in a nut shell.

October 26, 2019 6:20 am

Welcome to Soviet Climate Crookland.

October 26, 2019 6:23 am

Wonder how our friend Willis Eschenbach is doing out there in Sonoma County.

Postscript: maybe it was not such a smart idea to sue PGE for the 30 billions in fire damage after all.

Reply to  chaamjamal
October 26, 2019 7:02 am

But the “won!”

Stuart Nachman
October 26, 2019 6:24 am

There is an excellent column in today’s WSJ about the folly of forcing PG & E to divert resources from grid maintenance to green projects at the direction of the legislature. But according to the Governor it is all the fault of these greedy capitalists.

Reply to  Stuart Nachman
October 26, 2019 9:09 am

The power that I am not getting is 40% renewables.

Reply to  Stuart Nachman
October 26, 2019 12:34 pm

Wind mills ….. when there is no wind, there is no power. When there *is* wind, the lines get shut down.
Solar panels…. when it is cloudy, there is no power. When there *is* sunlight …. Walmart catches fire.

Mike of the North
October 26, 2019 6:25 am

I heard in the news something like “witnesses think they saw a power line fall, but it was unclear if this caused the fire.” So as long as el pueblo can sue PG&E for any fire in the woods this won’t end. It’s interesting because it requires groups of people to blame different groups of people for different problems. Perhaps these people should look in the mirror and decide to work together on fixing this.

Reply to  Mike of the North
October 26, 2019 6:59 pm

There’s a video on ice age farmer that shows a bright arc-type explosion off in the distance right after the lights went out. That was supposedly where the fire started.

October 26, 2019 6:27 am

The state admits no culpability. Both state and press blame PGE dirty money capitalists. The villain is years of poor micromanagement of PGE and poor forest management by the government. The dopes that continue to put the incompetents in power get what they wished for

michael hart
Reply to  Mark
October 26, 2019 10:01 am

Yup. They reap what they sow.

People often say it has to get worse before it can better and, for an outsider, this is beginning to look like a textbook case.

I find myself almost like the onlookers on the Death Star when Darth Vader found someone’s “lack of faith disturbing”. I know I shouldn’t enjoy the spectacle, but it makes for fascinating watching.

October 26, 2019 6:29 am

It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good.

Discuss. 🙂

Martin A
October 26, 2019 6:29 am

Could we please see a night time satellite photo of California (like those we see of N Korea and S Korea)?

Ed Fix
October 26, 2019 6:30 am

How about eliminate long-distance power lines in that region of California by siting power plants closer to power consumption? The answer, of course, “California”.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Ed Fix
October 26, 2019 7:31 am

Transmission lines typically are strung far higher and have very large setbacks.
I would think, but am not certain, that the problem is with distribution lines.

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
October 26, 2019 9:17 am

I just saw on the news what looked like a 500 Kv line high voltage transmission line, a jumper broke at the tower and a single conductor may have fell to the ground hot (live) and sparked the fire. Or it just shorted sending down to ground a bunch of sparks for a millisecond. The video was being shot from a helicopter and the fire was shown directly below the tower in the middle of nowhere.

The ironic thing is that with all the power outage and revenue loss, a lot of those lost monies from the sale of electricity could be going into maintenance. Presumably, a lot of the wind/solar production being shut down in addition to PG&E assets. So everyone loses now. Yes, just like Venezuela.

October 26, 2019 6:31 am

I was going to send it in but figured someone would beat me to it;-)
I just laughed as I saw the headers
they were just talking reconnecting…oops.
reckon PGE need to come to Aus for a looksee on how to manage it.

Dodgy Geezer
October 26, 2019 6:36 am

From earlier reports, I believe that the fundamental reason for this is a change in environmental legislation which stopped people doing controlled burns and cutting trees back in order to make fires less likely.

I wonder:

a) if this is true, and
b( if it is, why no one seems to be talking about it….

Alan Chapprll
Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
October 26, 2019 7:22 am

THIMK, ah 1
WE, US, have got to save the planet, ( diesel, Gasoline , coal; etc ) RENEWABLES Harrah,
Ops Thimking !

Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
October 26, 2019 3:05 pm

Yes it is mainly true. But most fires in CA are human caused, and it seems a lot now by PG&E. What needs to happen is having small controlled burns, especially around cities and towns when the weather is conducive to not having a major conflagration erupting. And equipment and manpower can be mustered in advance. But that probably won’t happen cause the Gov’t has gone stupid. It is probably the best form of fuel management since trying to do it manually isn’t going to happen and still doesn’t get rid of all the dead grass and brush that causes fast, hot flash fires. Another thing that should happen, if it isn’t already, is limiting access to the back country so that careless people can’t even start a fire. Of course, none of this will stop straight up arson when the conditions are ripe, but much more effort should go into clamping down on stupid people, as well as somehow stoping the deranged criminal from starting any fires. So much damage can be caused by someone with a 1 cent book of matches. I don’t think there is much hope…California may be lost already and this is the proof.

October 26, 2019 6:45 am

‘And with data models indicating the weather event could be the most powerful in California in decades, with widespread dry Northeast winds between 45-60 miles per hour (mph) and peak gusts of 60-70 mph in the higher elevations through Monday, large swaths of the region could be without power for days…’

Those sorts of wind speeds are what we are currently experiencing in SW England. They don’t seem unusual. Does California normally have a much calmer climate?


Stuart Nachman
Reply to  tonyb
October 26, 2019 7:17 am

Short answer: no. Beauty is matched by weather & geological challenges.

Reply to  tonyb
October 26, 2019 7:23 am

No Tony, the problem is the extreme dryness and extensive woodlands neither of which occur in the UK. PG&E have a problem in that they get sued for huge amounts if someone says that the damage caused to one of their power lines caused a fire, consequently they shut down the lines to prevent that.

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  Phil.
October 26, 2019 8:34 am

Actually they do. Extreme dryness every two decades or so, the last really prolongued one in 1990. Wildfires on the pennine moors. Most started by people many deliberately. But the usual suspect is being blamed whatever.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
October 26, 2019 10:07 am

It’s not just soil moisture, it’s the very low dew-points of these winds that dry out the brush. I doubt UK ever has strong winds of those low dew-points.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
October 26, 2019 10:10 am

To amend, it’s really the relative humidity. I’d say UK could get strong winds w/low dew-points, but not the extremely low RH (the Santa Ana winds are usually warm to hot).

October 26, 2019 6:45 am

Legit question here: if money and asinine regulations and poor management weren’t a problem for PG&E, how could they solve this? In other parts of the US, and in many cities and towns, the lines are simply buried. Is that not feasible in California?

Reply to  leowaj
October 26, 2019 7:16 am

These are very high voltage, long distance power lines (DC?), not distribution lines. They can cost up to about $5 million per mile to bury, depending on the type ground. Average for that area is about $1.16 million per mile, more than twice as much as their average overhead cost of $448,800 per mile.

That would mean higher electric prices to the consumer. Doubt if the state regulators in the past would approve that expenditure.

October 26, 2019 6:47 am

‘in order to make it easier for pedestrians to avoid stepping into the human faces covering the city’s sidewalks’

did you mean ‘faces’ or another rather unpleasant word?

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  tonyb
October 26, 2019 11:08 am

Actually, …… either one or both is correct..

Reply to  tonyb
October 26, 2019 2:42 pm

So we should refer to SF as “Socialism with human faces?” How about the reality: “Socialism with human feces?”

Ian Random
Reply to  Jeffrey
November 4, 2019 11:14 am

Oh, that is why they have scheduled black-outs in Frisco, feces are flammable.

Roy W. Spencer
October 26, 2019 6:50 am

This is what they get for not building a border wall to the north, to prevent illegal Canadian high pressure crossings.

Reply to  Roy W. Spencer
October 26, 2019 7:21 am

You’re right. Wind speeds over 45 mph should be illegal, and the law strictly enforced. Think of the damages caused by this, hurricanes, and tornadoes. Some governments claim they can control the climate, so they should be held responsible for the weather it brings.

Reply to  jtom
October 26, 2019 11:50 am

If there was a law against it, California would probably declare itself a sanctuary state for high winds and let them in anyway.

Reply to  Roy W. Spencer
October 26, 2019 9:43 am

Yes, those pesky cold blooded Canucks and all their cold air. Not only high pressure crossing the border illegally but also responsible for all those tornadoes too, cause of the same cold air aloft. Send the bill to Canada and if they don’t pay, then we will just take their oil for half price until the bill is paid.

mike the morlock
Reply to  Earthling2
October 26, 2019 4:58 pm

Earthling2 October 26, 2019 at 9:43 am

Ah we haven’t had the best of luck with invading Canada.


Reply to  Roy W. Spencer
October 26, 2019 10:23 am

Yes. CA cop, pulling over & getting out of patrol car in a strong Santa Ana wind:
“Wind, does you know how fast you been a-blowin’? And where ‘xactly you from?

Federico Bär
Reply to  beng135
October 27, 2019 11:14 am

— where ‘xactly you from?—
Love this curiosity! I’ve been asking this since I started to be aware of the world.
And my second Unanswerable Question is: .. where you going?…

Reply to  Roy W. Spencer
October 26, 2019 1:16 pm

Hey, don’t blame us for your low pressure existence.

October 26, 2019 6:52 am

Wow so this is really the prelim of state owned utilities.

October 26, 2019 7:00 am

The chickens are coming home to roost. This is all self inflicted and will only get worse until the people finally have had enough and will get smart. Or with the typical Californian, maybe not.

In a related matter, the amount of petroleum distillates in the Northeast US is seriously low going into winter and the amount of natural gas that can be supplied is woefully inadequate. With the lack of pipelines and storage, if we have a brutal 3-4 weeks this winter there are going to be people freezing to death in their own homes.

But then if it happens, as in California it will not be the politician’s fault but the utilities’ fault. Windmills and Solar Farms aren’t going to be much help in the depths of the Polar Vortex.

Reply to  rbabcock
October 26, 2019 8:07 am

This the result of decades of bad governance resulting from voters’ poor choices, voting for good intentions versus principled outcomes. The governance can change quickly, but the repairs to infrastructure can take a decade. Which is why PG&E says these blackouts will continue for 10 years.

Reply to  rbabcock
October 26, 2019 11:06 pm

“people freezing to death in their own homes”
OK, do you know of anyone that this has happened to?!?
I’m a “senior citizen” on a “fixed income” with enough sense to have a real wood stove and have been known to buy “bio-mass” from the local stores to keep me warm thru the winter months. I’d sure like to see some actual real anecdotal evidence of someone “freezing to death in their home”
I have in my younger days worked with senior citizens to make sure that their furnace systems were in good condition before the winter storms came raging.
I don’t think you are going to be seeing a Polar Vortex devastating California anytime soon.
I live in the Pacific Northwest, btw…

Bruce Cobb
October 26, 2019 7:00 am

One should always avoid stepping on human faces. Especially the pretty ones.

October 26, 2019 7:02 am

The same unaccountable appointees to the CPUC overseeing PG&E and the same “experts” who run CARB and brought us the CARB-approved gas can designed by “experts” to prevent spills of gasoline, yet in real life dump more fuel on the ground than they ever prevent, if you can figure out how to open the spout.

In the past 30 years, the CPUC has had a green agenda diverting the $$ needed to beef up, maintain and modernize the grid to pie-in-the-sky green-approved and democrat funding “non-carbon” energy at 2-3-10x the price and 1/2 to 1/10th the energy and reliability, also pulling out dams and shutting down California’s major load-bering plants, first San Onofre and soon Diablo Canon. Diablo Canon shutters in a couple of years and with it nearly 10% of California’s caseload.

It will only get worse in the next couple of decades, especially if the Demos and Greens keep dictating the way! The CPUC thought they could make money in their sleep since power line fires have been happing since the 1980s. Simply fine PG&E and force them and the taxpayer-customers to go green. It will be a bright future, the “experts” told us. Now Black is the new “Green” of the 21st century. Green for the taxes. Blackouts and blacked earth for the rest of us. It’s the GND in practice now. What a wonderful world they’ve created for us!

Kevin kilty
October 26, 2019 7:03 am

When I lived in southern California four decades ago, the major contributors to these fires was arson, and kids with fireworks. Now it is climate change and capitalism. The boogeyman changes to fit the times.

Thomas Ryan
October 26, 2019 7:07 am

This mess is a result of aggressive environmental interference in prudent forest management.
My daughter has to go in early this morning to have her dialysis session before the lights go off today. Will the lights go on before her next session? I also have a dear friend who is under hospice supervision in Piedmont. He is hooked up to various machines. They will lose their electricty today as well.
And Gavin Newsome blames climate change.

October 26, 2019 7:12 am

I predict a run on home generators – diesel, propane or natural gas powered (maybe all 3) in the very near future. So much for keeping emissions down. Cheers –

Reply to  agimarc
October 26, 2019 8:16 am

Its been happening for months. Generac sales are off the charts. And they have a huge backlog of local licensed electricians waiting for training so they can sell and install the generators for 10,000’s of affluent Californians on waiting lists.
The affluent take the financial hit, while the middle class whocan’t afford or live in rental homes just sit in the dark. They can’t even go to Starbucks since the local Starbucks is also dark.
Of course these are fossil fueled generators with 2 or 3 times the emissions per Kwhr of grid power. The irony.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
October 26, 2019 8:24 am

My wife and I retired to a fairly remote area in northwest Montana in 2014. We are at the end of the line, with power suppled (intermittently…) by a rural electric cooperative. Power outages are frequent, and often lengthy. Knowing that, we budgeted into our home build a whole house generator, powered by propane. When the power goes off, ours barely blips, and we go on our merry way.

While not trivial in cost, I would recommend EVERYONE budget and save for such a system. Let’s see, giving up a stupidly expensive Starbucks habit, and maybe forgoing the next generation of a “smart” phone and before you know it, you’re there.

We all have priorities, and choices to make, and having regular power is one of ours.

Reply to  agimarc
October 26, 2019 9:27 am

As usual, the poor are bearing the brunt. How unfair! Home generators should be outlawed immediately.

As usual. A mass transit system BART was designed to allow commuters from San Francisco to reach Livermore. There was a space provided in the middle of Highway 580 for trains. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission decided to build “express lanes” for the rich instead.

Thomas Ryan
October 26, 2019 7:16 am

This is the result of aggressive environmental interference in responsible forest management.
My daughter has an early dialysis today to get it done before the electricity is cut off. Will there be electricity for her next session?

Bob Johnston
October 26, 2019 7:18 am

Now turn off the natural gas and shut down the gasoline pumps and show the people of California ultimately what the real plan is.

Melvyn Dackombe
Reply to  Bob Johnston
October 26, 2019 7:42 am

” what the real pain is “

October 26, 2019 7:20 am

No problem…..when the power goes out, just jump in your electric vehicle and leave. Oh wait…..

Reply to  Joey
October 27, 2019 8:45 am

Now that is funny and sad at the same time.

October 26, 2019 7:26 am

Didn’t I see an article saying that the mayor of San Jose was proposing that the state take over PG&E and run it? Yeah, right, that’ll sure fix things.

Alan Chapprll
October 26, 2019 7:28 am

THIMK, ah 1
WE, US, have got to save the planet, ( diesel, Gasoline , coal; etc ) RENEWABLES Harrah,
Ops Thimking !

Carl Friis-Hansen
October 26, 2019 7:31 am

Tree branch vs. 11000 volt power line.
Good recording and good for Halloween.

Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
October 26, 2019 9:37 am

Broken link I guess ?

Carl Friis-Hansen
Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
October 26, 2019 10:03 am

What am I doing wrong?
This is the link to the video:

But somehow WP does not like the closing bracket and rewrites it to HTML code.

Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
October 27, 2019 8:39 am

Carl, perfect example of non-maintenance of line clearances. Bankrupting the responsible utility doesn’t help.

October 26, 2019 7:34 am

Black is the new green. That’s the black of despair.

October 26, 2019 7:37 am

People, developers and towns deliberately move / expand into fire-prone areas, then demand electric service. When the inevitable happens, they blame the power company. The utility may have stop expansion into high-risk zones, then begin denying/removing service from areas that previously had been off-grid.

One question. When will scumbag lawyers begin to sue the company for damages caused by the blackouts, if they haven’t already?

Terence Gore
October 26, 2019 7:44 am

Gives decent map of Kincade fire. Evacuated Geyserville downtown but doesn’t seem to be any real action to mitigate fire load at the town itself which is a couple of kilometers away from east hills with agricultural firebreak of vineyards and natural fire break of the Russian River

October 26, 2019 7:49 am

California leading the way.
They have shut off the power companies power, lightning must be next.

October 26, 2019 7:53 am

Cal becomes Venezuela?
I’m shocked. This is my shocked face.
The results of Decades of voting D ….

Maybe it’ll be the wake up call that voters there need and make it Democrats Waterloo.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
October 26, 2019 8:27 am

you know….liberals have made such a mess out of it….let them keep it

Reply to  Latitude
October 26, 2019 1:23 pm

Didn’t I see an article recently saying that the mayor of San Jose was proposing that the state take over PG&E and run it? Yeah, right, that’ll sure fix things.

Reply to  Yooper
October 26, 2019 3:57 pm

A state or municipally owned/run utility would just give the Predatort Shakedown Ambulance chasing lawyers access to the biggest pocketbook of them all…. the taxpayer.

October 26, 2019 8:00 am

This is actually a genius move. PG&E is prepping the good citizens of the People’s Republic of California for what life will be like when their lords and masters force a statewide “green new deal” down their throats.

Linda Goodman
October 26, 2019 8:00 am

‘Who benefits?’ Landowners who lose their homes and businesses to fire face draconian and expensive CA building regulations, via the climate change fraud, so many sell their land at a big loss. Whoever is buying up the land benefits from the fires. And a side effect is a mass exodus of the middle class. Land-grabbing globalist elites couldn’t plan it better.

David Kelly
October 26, 2019 8:04 am

One observation.

Most of the commentators to the various articles discussing the blackouts point their fingers at either PG&E or the State of California (depending upon political persuasion) … virtually no mentions it was a democrat appointed 9th circuit federal judge who ordered PG&E to shut down the transmission system during periods of high winds.

I mean, if your going to point fingers, you might as point at the full circus. No point in leaving clowns in the 9th circuit unscathed.

Mark Pawelek
October 26, 2019 8:13 am

This took 40 years to make. In 1978 Jerry Brown became California’s governor. He began the current subservience to:
* renewables,
* decentralization,
* small-scale generation, and
* wide distributed

That describes Californian’s electricity grid. 40 years of ideology dressed up as policy.

Can PG&E harden the grid? Being decentralized, there’s just too much grid. It’d take a long time. It’ll be very expensive. What are they to do? Will they have to bury grid wires under the ground?

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Mark Pawelek
October 26, 2019 1:27 pm

Mark Pawelek
In the mountainous areas, there isn’t much soil to dig in. It will require blasting to dig trenches or tunnels in the bedrock. That will be very expensive and time consuming!

John the Econ
October 26, 2019 8:18 am

“Climate Change” is both the excuse for past Progress policy failure and the excuse for more Progressive policy.

Could the “Agenda 21” conspiracy theorists be on to something and this is all just a scam to flush the extra-urban dwellers out of the hinterlands and into the cities where the central planners think they belong?

October 26, 2019 8:22 am

“Will they have to bury grid wires under the ground?”
Nope, can’t be done, it’d be too expensive. I got quoted $60K for a 6000 foot buried feed for my house in the Upper Peninsula, 10 years ago. On site 3Kw solar was 1/3 that. Imagine what it would cost to bury hundreds of miles of high voltage main lines.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Yooper
October 26, 2019 2:40 pm

They also need to be cooled.

Keith Rowe
October 26, 2019 8:24 am

The blackouts are from a judge’s order. PG&E are damned if the do and damned by violating a judge’s order if they don’t.

My thoughts are that CO2 also has a role in it. Higher CO2 has allowed more drought resistant trees, which made more dense forests with fewer large trees that were required to survive from the need for CO2 battled the need for water. More dense with fewer large trees are some of the kinds of changes in fires we see today.

Reply to  Keith Rowe
October 26, 2019 8:33 am

Keith Rowe – you wrote the following:

“My thoughts are that CO2 also has a role in it. Higher CO2 has allowed more drought resistant trees, which made more dense forests with fewer large trees that were required to survive from the need for CO2 battled the need for water. More dense with fewer large trees are some of the kinds of changes in fires we see today.”

Ummmmm…no. Forests, primarily in the west where the vast majority are “managed” by public agencies, mostly federal….are overstocked with small trees primarily because of a failure to properly manage said forests, and because of a long history of fire suppression. There, fixed it for you.

I am a retired forester with more than 35 years experience.

Keith Rowe
Reply to  LKMiller
October 26, 2019 9:51 am

The forests are changing. CO2 was low and it forced the plants to keep more stoma open to allow enough CO2 in this also allowed more H20 to leave as they are open longer/more. More CO2 has allowed them to use water more conservatively, also allowing different kinds of trees. I think larger trees with their deep roots and area to mass was a winning formula when CO2 was low but as trees grow in increasing CO2, denser trees are the winning formula.

Reply to  Keith Rowe
October 26, 2019 10:46 am


You completely ignore the reason why the forests of the west are overly dense, and fire prone. Go back and re-read my response. Those are the reasons.

Russ R.
October 26, 2019 8:43 am

These winds have been blowing in CA for millions of years. It is not a mystery why it happens and where it happens.
It is a mystery why it is IGNORED until it is a problem.
Controlled burns and avoiding those zones when putting up power lines is the simple solution.
There are many smart people in CA. It is too bad they are such a minority, and the majority is too stubborn to listen to reason.

Reply to  Russ R.
October 26, 2019 12:17 pm

Cutting a fire break along all power line routes would not seem to be that expensive or take long to do.

That would also enhance fire safety and make for easier access for line maintenance.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Greg
October 26, 2019 1:31 pm

You have apparently never seen the terrain around Pulga on the Feather River where the Paradise fire started. Where do you live? Kansas?

Russ R.
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
October 26, 2019 4:01 pm

It is very difficult terrain. That is why you burn it when the prevailing winds come off the ocean, and are cool and damp. If you don’t you will be fighting a wild fire when the compression winds are hot and dry.
This is not rocket science. You either burn it when the conditions are favorable for containment, or run for your life when the winds are a blow torch looking for any spark.

October 26, 2019 8:57 am

Well done Progressives! This is entirely your doing.

California is now well on its way to a Third World country.

Reply to  Graemethecat
October 26, 2019 10:17 am

But it is the most developed Third World country! Also the second most progressive (after Venezuela).

Gary Pearse
October 26, 2019 9:15 am

Interesting to do the statistics on any change in frequency of fires if cutting off power is an extended steategy. A good, although unpleasant experiment for many. If the number of fires does decline significantly, then the blame fo r a good number of past fires certainly takes “climate change” off the attribution list. Hopefully, the big experiment, cleaning up the forests, will be done and significant fire reduction would put the government/gang green/industrial complex on the attribution list big time.

Les Segal
October 26, 2019 9:23 am

Surely the voters of Berkley are on board with the shut down of power? They’re saving the planet, (sarc) so this is a good start. The GND will ensure non reliable, intermittent or zero power to some. That’s the plan right ?

Michael Jankowski
October 26, 2019 9:28 am

Needs to be posted on every one of these threads…

“…The author of the measure — passed unanimously by both houses of the Legislature — now says the governor missed out on a chance to tackle one of his state’s longstanding vulnerabilities: massive wildfires endangering residential communities. But the governor’s office and the California Public Utilities Commission say the bill duplicated efforts already underway among the CPUC, Cal Fire and utilities like PG&E…”

October 26, 2019 9:44 am

PG&E is only NorCal. SCE (Los Angeles area) and SDG&E are also doing their own blackouts.

October 26, 2019 10:33 am

Just looking at the fire map. Do wildfires magically stop at the Oregon and Mexico borders or do they have wildfires?

Alan Chapprll
October 26, 2019 11:23 am

Maybe an opportunity for somebody with deep pockets ?

The worlds largest aircraft is the Antonov AN 225 Takeoff weight 645 tonnes
One (1) has been in service since 1988 ( well done Ukraine )
3 ( three) complete aircraft remain in the warehouse disassembled
water water everywhere

Reply to  Alan Chapprll
October 26, 2019 12:22 pm

Yes, well done Ukraine for breaking ties with RF and shutting down the entire Antonov business.

Reply to  Alan Chapprll
October 26, 2019 12:24 pm

BTW the design was Russian, the factory was in Ukraine.

J Mac
October 26, 2019 11:33 am

My heart goes out to all of the folks that didn’t vote for California’s socialist environmental stupidity. Like those of us residing in Washington state ‘We’re screwed.’ As for those that did vote for this socialist environmental stupidity “You made this 3rd world mess. Now lie in it!”

October 26, 2019 11:48 am

I’ll share my generator if you first renounce the climate crusades and sign the petition for the climate truth and reconciliation courts. You can move to the head of the line by demonstrating knowledge of climate cycles in the Pacific and Atlantic and solar cycles.

Terence Gore
October 26, 2019 12:02 pm

Camp fire and Paradise destruction video. At minute 10 it begins to explore the political ramifications and is likely the future of Rural CA power.

Frederick Michael
October 26, 2019 12:24 pm

No drought though.

J Mac
October 26, 2019 3:05 pm

I hate to be a climate change catastrophe wet blanket, but…..
Whatever happened to the ‘climate change’ induced California ‘permadrought’?
Oh… and the ‘climate change’ induced permadrought in Texas n Oklahoma also??

Griff? Mosh? Kristi? Buehler? Buehler??

Mike Dubrasich
October 27, 2019 12:00 am

It’s the fuels. And not just forest fuels, but also various brush, scrub oak, chaparral, and even residential ornamental fuels.

It’s the volume of fuels (their height) and their continuity. It’s their moisture content, which is always seasonally low in Mediterranean climates. California’s climate is similar to Greece or Portugal where a spate megafires have burned in recent years.

“Controlled burns” is a general term for a variety of techniques, but they do not by themselves reduce fuels very much. Furthermore, powerline easements and housing tracts cannot be controlled burned. Logging, mowing, mulching, grazing, and other similar techniques get the fuel onto the ground and work best if coupled with removal to safe disposal areas. Disposal may be by incineration, composting, or other processing. Breaking up the continuity of fuels can reduce the hazard without total landscape fuel removal.

Fuel management is not a one-time event. Fuels are biological, they grow, and so must be managed annually — it is a repetitious process (like mowing your lawn).

Downed powerlines can start fires, but so can a host of other ignition sources or events. Managing the fuels (across the landscape) is the ONLY way to prevent large (landscape) fires.

Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
October 27, 2019 6:09 am

Well stated Mike.

stephen shook
Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
October 27, 2019 6:57 am

First of all whoever’s commenting that the forests are too dense because of CO2 is absolutely wrong! The problem is is that California is so full of tree-huggers that they don’t even let you cut down a weed anymore because of Regulation! Thus the fires I know what I’m talking about I lived there for 32 years I got out just in time! I think it’s the funniest thing on the face of the planet the idiot liberals become victims of their own idiotic retarded policies! I get so much pleasure out of it you have no idea!

October 27, 2019 1:38 am

Sue the power utility for wild fires and win. Net result. Higher rates as the power company needs money to pay off the lawsuit. Blackouts to prevent any other attempt to connect wild fires to the power company. Again the law of unintended consequences and be careful what you wish for, you might just get it are proven true.

October 27, 2019 5:13 am

If you had solar….wait

If you had solar hooked up to BYPASS the grid and not GRID TIE-INS, you could have some power, but not enough for A/C without considerable expense and the Musk solar panels do not catch fire…etc…

How much has been spent on illegals and the train to nowhere?

How much could have been done to BURY electrical cables in the ground by now in the high risk areas? They can bury cables at astonishing rates with modern machines. But hey lets just keep putting them on poles. the utility says it costs 3 million a mile to bury cables, I bet you can get a red neck to bury them cheaper than that( I would have said Pedro but did not want to get the delicate sensibilities of CA SJW posers, pants in a wad) (or is it against the law to joke in CA now?)

Anywho, how many mi could have been buried for 20 bil so far these past years?

Don L
October 27, 2019 6:04 am

I wonder how many of the folks in the know, invested in generator stock beforehand?

Mike Kelter
October 27, 2019 6:39 am

If you overlay the fire maps with electrical transmission maps, which transmit 25% of California’s electricity very long distances from the Pacific Northwest and from the Southwest states. Most of the areas with overhead transmission lines are federally-owned, thus are cheap to lease and are poorly maintained by the US Government.

In order for the utilities to meet California’s strict renewable energy standards, they are forced to import hydro and solar power over long distances as local baseload generation capacity is shut down. Long transmission distances adds system resistance which results in conductor heating and sagging and loosening of electrical connections. When wires head and sag they can cause sparking and fires.

In addition, the lack of baseload generation causes a loss of local voltage support, aka “reactive power”. Reactive power is analogous to a bladder (hydrotank) on a well pump that evens out the well pumping power so you don’t burst the downstream piping. Reactive power is catestrophically important when power use exceeds or is less than the actual power capacity being generated: e.g. the circuit is “out of phase”. Reactive power is local.

Down stream PV (photovoltaic) does not provide reactive power, it only provides “real power”, e.g. the power measured in kilowatts you typically see on your electric bill. In AC circuits, the amount of power that flows through any system is the “apparent power” which is the resultant of real power and reactive power. Without local reactive power, the apparent power at the generators must be adjusted, if possible, to balance the load. It is unfeasible to adjust the power output at the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River, like you could adjust the power output at your local fossil fuel generation plant.

In a wildfire situation, electric utilities have come to learn that burnt down homes don’t consume electricity and in the absence of local power sources, have figured out that the best way to prevent collapse of the entire electric grid is to shut down segments of the electric grid to prevent overloading the circuits. This similar strategy is employed in places like Florida just prior to hurricane impacts.

California would be wise to loosen their renewable energy standards to allow a larger percentage of power generation from baseload (fossil fuel) sources that can be cycled on/off or ramped up/down depending on demand, and that would provide a measure of reactive power to lessen the loads on the transmission system that rises above fire-prone areas of California.

It would be wise. Somehow, wisdom seems to avoid California.


Rod Hackenflasch
October 27, 2019 7:59 am

I’ll take “States in a turd swirl” for $1.50, Alex.

“Millions of homeless, Illegal immigrants invading every community, drugs everywhere, STD’s reaching epidemic proportions, water shortages, skyrocketing taxes, massive power shortages and blackouts, highest gas prices in the nation, half the state’s on fire, street gangs run rampant, tons of feces on the streets of every major city, rampant gender confusion, pedophiles everywhere, and Democrats rule.”

Answer: California

Jas Pahl
October 27, 2019 1:12 pm

You can’t even vote conservative in California anymore. My friend who lives there says ILLEGAL ALIENS can run for and hold community elected positions and can vote in federal elections.
I would like to see TRUMP Nationalize the CA. National Guard and declare martial law on California and bring it back into the United states instead of its seditious condition that the years of 4 family rule find the disenfranchised patrons of California in.

Rudolf Huber
October 27, 2019 3:39 pm

2,5 million customers that will hug and kiss their diesel gensets if they have some. And those with solar power should be allowed to enjoy the blessings of their installation. Because not being able to receive electricity also means they cannot feed it back into the grid which will bust the comfortable bubble they have been living in. Whats the bubble? They think they live on green electricity because they used the grid as a dump for electricity they could not use and got paid good money for it while receiving cheap electricity from the grid when their solar array did not deliver anything. Welcome to the real world on renewable bubblenomics.

Gerald the Mole
October 28, 2019 3:43 am

I don’t know if electricity price regulation exists in California but if it doesn’t and if PG&E are the sole supplier then their obvious solution is to do what is right from a technical point of view. This will generate a cost base. Then decide a reasonable profit and this sets the price of energy to the consumer. In other words they will have to pay what they voted for. Simples as the Meerkat says.

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