Editor, Ceres Courier,
PG&E’s system probably cannot be fixed in two years, or 10 or ever maybe. It is part of our country’s so-called “decaying infrastructure” and the problem is so large that no politician is willing to fess up and tell us the truth: Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) are here to stay – forever. This is symptomatic of the nearly universal cowardice of the political class. Root causes are not addressed. Second and third order effects of election promises are not discussed publicly. And the can gets kicked down the road until you get what we have here today: the end of the road. At the end of the road the truth is obvious. That’s it!
I have read various numbers but 120 million trees, and 30,000 miles of power lines in PG&E’s system are what have come out recently. Think of it! And how many wooden utility poles are out there carrying our crucial power and communication lines? What is their condition? And what would be the total cost to put all of this right?
I took a good look at ”our” utility pole today. It is located just beyond our fence in the neighbor’s yard. Cracks up and down! Big cracks. And for years I have listened to the woodpeckers beating that old pole silly. It’s old. Really old. Replacing just that one pole would probably cost $10,000 or more! It would involve shutting off power to the entire neighborhood and a very highly skilled team of technicians working all day. Now multiply that cost by, what, ten gazillion – the likely number of decrepit utility poles in Northern California – and you have your answer.
There is absolutely no way anyone in authority will go on record admitting that they allowed this situation to develop. The state of California and the CPUC and PG&E own this problem. And so far we’re just getting what’s called “limited hangout” – admit to some of the truth and pray for early retirement or higher office.
The boldest politician in California, state Senator Mike McGuire of Healdsburg, recently advocated for a new law. SB 560 will require utility companies to notify everyone such as health care providers, phone companies and first-responders about planned PSPS events. Well! That’s gonna make things right. Very courageous of Mike to take a stand like that. How about another law requiring PG&E to send ice to all of its customers living in PSPS hell?
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