Wednesday, March 3, 2021

In California, preventive power cuts against fires

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Hundreds of thousands of people in the north of the state are without power. The PG & E company, implicated in previous claims, preferred not to take the risk of serving its customers.

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Power lines in Rosemead, California on October 9th. FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP

The fire season has not started yet in California but the PG & E electric company is on the spot. We can not blame him for being surprised, like last year, by a fire starting under one of its power lines. The "Camp Fire", on November 8, 2018, had destroyed the locality of Paradise and made 85 dead, the heaviest balance sheet that the State has known. The experts attributed it to a lack of maintenance of the transmission lines.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also In California, after the fires, introspection

This year, PG & E has anticipated. In anticipation of the arrival of the autumn winds from the Sierra Nevada, which each year strengthen in power by rubbing against the warm air of the central valley, the company has taken the safest precautionary measure: To cut the electricity. Without current, no risk of spark fanned by the wind.

On Wednesday, October 9, 500,000 residents of the state ranked fifth economy in the world, have been deprived of power, as a preventive, mainly in the north of the state, from Sacramento to the foothills of the Sierra. 250,000 people in San Francisco Bay suffered the same fate at night, with meteorologists predicting strong winds and " Red alert ". Twenty-nine of California's 58 counties were affected by PG & E's decision to no longer risk serving its customers.

A pizzeria informs customers of its closure due to PG & E's power outage in Sonoma, California on October 9th.
A pizzeria informs customers of its closure due to PG & E's power outage in Sonoma, California on October 9th. CHRISTOPHER CHUNG / AP

Closed schools

In the morning, local channels were on the alert, as in Florida or Louisiana before a hurricane category 4. The specialists reminded residents that they had only a few minutes to charge their smartphones. The owners of Tesla have been notified to override the notice of the car's software and immediately recharge their vehicle.

The newspapers have disseminated useful information: how to open the automatic garage door in the absence of power. As early as the afternoon, the TVs showed accident scenes at intersections without red lights. Posted at the entrance of the Caledcott Tunnel, strategic axis at the entrance to San Francisco Bay, on the Hayward seismic fault, the cameras showed the generators ready to go into action.

A private intersection of its traffic lights, following the power outage, at Boyes Hot Springs, California on October 9th.
A private intersection of its traffic lights, following the power outage, at Boyes Hot Springs, California on October 9th. NOAH BERGER / AP

Some schools have preferred to close, as in Washington or Chicago in case of blizzard. Others told the parents that there was no danger. If it was too hot in private air conditioning, teachers "Open the windows".

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