AuthorTopic: The Dimming Bulb  (Read 17354 times)

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Re: 💡 Californians Learning That Solar Panels Don’t Work in Blackouts
« Reply #90 on: October 12, 2019, 07:17:33 AM »
if you had a tesla with a cheap inverter you can run limited loads through the accessory battery. Roughly 800 watts continuous. The main traction battery will keep it charged up... it's a popular hack. Good for fridges devices and maybe a wall mount air con...

According to Google, Teslas operate on either 350V or 375V batts.  Couldn't you use a step-down transformer to bring it down to 12V and then use say a 2000W Inverter with that?

RE
you dont need a step down transformer the car has it built in. It charges up the 12 volt accessory battery off of the 375v traction battery. Its limited to about 800 watts continuous which sounds low but you can do surges off of the 12 volt for starting things. The leaf, bolt, and volt all do the same thing. If you have a small internal combustion car idling it in the driveway is a perfect standby generator using the same tech. Inverter to the 12 volt, idle the car to keep it topped up. Modern car emissions are much lower then portable generators...cheap and it can keep you going for a few days at least

I ran a 2000W inverter off my truck batt.  Why are you limited to 800W off the Tesla batt?

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Re: The Dimming Bulb
« Reply #91 on: October 12, 2019, 07:46:43 AM »
800 watts continuous due to the size of the transformer. Peak power whatever the inverter can handle. For an internal combustion car whatever the alternator is rated for is your continuous...
If its important then try something, fail, disect, learn from it, try again, and again and again until it kills you or you succeed.

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Re: The Dimming Bulb
« Reply #92 on: October 12, 2019, 10:20:11 AM »
800 watts continuous due to the size of the transformer. Peak power whatever the inverter can handle. For an internal combustion car whatever the alternator is rated for is your continuous...

Couldn't you buy a bigger transformer?

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https://qz.com/1725991/californias-power-outages-show-climate-change-is-coming-for-everyone/

FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS
California’s massive power outages show climate change is coming for everyone, even the rich
By Michael J. CorenOctober 12, 2019


Climate-driven disasters are reshaping our world. This week, we’ve seen a preview of what’s coming.

In California, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) cut off power to 500,000 homes in 20 counties (with more to come). More than 2 million people could ultimately be left in the dark. PG&E is testing a new strategy to avoid last year’s killer wildfires, which left 1.8 million acres scorched and more than 100 dead, after its errant power lines touched off massive infernos, the worst toll in state history.

Now, the utility is shutting off the power.

PG&E, accused of neglecting its infrastructure and the flammable vegetation near its power lines, faces forests left tinder-dry by a series of brutal droughts in the past decade. As the climate dries out the West, wildfires are burning hotter, longer, and bigger than before. Overwhelmed, the utility has decided its only strategy is to stop delivery of its essential service to millions.

So far, the urban core of Silicon Valley and San Francisco hasn’t been severely affected (the high-voltage power lines serving tech’s corporate campuses aren’t as likely to start fires), but many areas where the tech elite live—such as Marin, Napa, Sonoma, Santa Clara, and Contra Costa counties—are in the dark.
Screenshot / PG&E / SFGate
PG&E map of expected outage areas (Oct 9).

This week’s move may avoid a fire (and another bankruptcy), but it endangers a huge number of people who will need power to stay cool, preserve medications, refrigerate food, charge phones, or access gas pumps or ATMs, says Irwin Redlener, the director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University. “If your remedy is cutting off power…you do that at a cost,” he says. “You’re [creating] a significant risk for a large number of people.”

We’re entering a climate era when there are no total solutions. There are only tradeoffs. Disaster relief is becoming less about rebuilding or fixing infrastructure, and more a way to buy time or retreat from the hardest-hit areas. In low-lying and fire-prone areas, communities are already beginning to abandon their homes,  from Alaska to Louisiana. As the cost of defense and rebuilding after climate-driven disasters becomes too costly, exceeding the ability of even insurers and governments to absorb, this will become the new normal. Just defending coastal cities against storm surge with seawalls will cost at least $42 billion by 2040, according to environmental group the Center for Climate Integrity, and as much as $400 billion if including communities with less than 25,000 people.

Poor cities are the most vulnerable to climate change and the least prepared to counter it, according to a climate-impact study of the largest 100 US cities. But the climate crisis won’t spare the wealthy, either, says Redlener. “People with limited means are always going to do worse in initial impacts and also have a much more difficult time in the aftermath,” he notes. “But these [impacts] are essentially inevitable and affect the multimillionaires on Fisher Island [Florida’s richest zip code] and the poor people in Little Havana. There will be some equalization of impact.”

Since 1980, US weather-related disasters have incurred $1.7 trillion in damages. Every year, the average cost has grown. At least 10 weather and climate disaster events costing a billion dollars (or more) have hit the US for five consecutive years, an unprecedented amount. Over this time, the frequency of severe events has nearly tripled, with 3.75 severe events per year on average through the 1980s and 1990s, and rising to 11.6 events annually over the last five years.
NOAA

California is on the front lines. While some people with means will buy batteries and solar panels to endure power outages, or expand the defensive perimeter against fire for their luxury homes, those measures will not stave off what is eventually coming. That story will be repeated across the hardest-hit areas in the West, South Florida, Texas, the mid-Atlantic, New Orleans, or the Mississippi River Valley.
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💡 PG&E faces sanctions, demands for refunds in wake of planned blackouts
« Reply #94 on: October 15, 2019, 12:48:01 AM »
$250 is a joke.  ::)

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https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/10/14/pge-must-pay-for-the-intentional-power-blackouts-gov-newsom/

PG&E faces sanctions, demands for refunds in wake of planned blackouts
Governor rips utility in new letter, says rebates are needed


1 of 14

Without electricity the marquee of the Orinda Theatre remains dark as vehicles make their way down Moraga Way in Orinda, Calif., on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. Business continue to be closed due to the recent PG&E shutdown. PG&E began restoring power to Bay Area residents Thursday, taking the first steps in what could be a days-long process to end an outage that left more than 700,000 homes and businesses in the dark. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)
By George Avalos | gavalos@bayareanewsgroup.com | Bay Area News Group
PUBLISHED: October 14, 2019 at 2:28 pm | UPDATED: October 14, 2019 at 9:33 pm

Click here if you’re unable to view the photo gallery on your mobile device.

State officials blasted Pacific Gas & Electric on Monday, with regulators suggesting sanctions and Gov. Gavin Newsom demanding that the disgraced utility pay rebates to customers who lost power during last week’s planned shutdowns, which affected more than 700,000 customers across Northern California and the Bay Area.

“Californians should not pay the price for decades of PG&E’s greed and neglect,” Newson said in a letter to PG&E’s chief executive officer Monday. Calling the utility’s handling of last week’s shutdowns “unacceptable,” Newsom said that the company should provide rebates of $100 to residential customers and $250 to business customers affected by the power outages.

Separately, the California Public Utilities Commission issued a harshly worded letter to PG&E and summoned the CEO, Bill Johnson, and other top executives to an emergency meeting of the regulatory panel that is scheduled for Friday.
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As Bay Area recovers from PG&E power shutoff, many
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“The scope, scale, complexity, and overall impact to people’s lives, businesses, and the economy of this action cannot be understated,” PUC President Marybel Batjer said in a letter sent to Johnson on Monday. “Failures in execution, combined with the magnitude of this power shutoff event, created an unacceptable situation that should never be repeated.”

The agency issued a series of actions for PG&E, including dramatically shortening the amount of time that people are left without electricity during preemptive shutdowns to 12 hours, down from the utility’s current goal of restoring power within 48 hours after a planned outage.

“At a minimum, this should be the goal for utility-caused outages, such as a planned power shutoff,” Batjer wrote.

In addition, the PUC said PG&E must try harder to avoid large-scale outages, improve communication with the public and local officials, develop a better system for distributing outage maps and work with emergency personnel to make sure PG&E staff are adequately trained.

Roughly 738,000 PG&E customers in 34 counties — including every Bay Area county except San Francisco — were forced to endure intentional outages ordered by the utility last week as a precautionary measure aimed at preventing wildfires amid high winds and dry weather conditions. Because a utility “customer” can include multi-unit dwellings and other places where people share power service, the number of people affected is estimated to reach into the millions.

The decision to preemptively cut off power for such a vast swath of the state followed state investigators’ findings that PG&E equipment caused more than a dozen wildfires in California in 2017 and 2018, including the deadly Camp Fire last October that left 85 people and effectively destroyed the town of Paradise. Confronted with wildfire-related claims in the range of $30 billion, along with numerous other debts, PG&E filed for a $51.69 billion bankruptcy in January, seeking to reorganize its shattered finances.

Amid the unprecedented preemptive shutdowns, executives with PG&E last week acknowledged they had not been “adequately prepared” for the power outages and apologized for the company’s failure to communicate information about the shutdown. Faced with an 800% increase in traffic, the utility’s website buckled and crashed as the shutdowns began last Tuesday, leaving customers and others without a means of determining whether their neighborhoods would be plunged into darkness.

“PG&E’s lack of preparation and poor performance is particularly alarming given that, prior to the event, top executives responded to the scrutiny and questioning of state and local agencies that PG&E could handle a public safety shutoff event,” the governor stated in his letter to Johnson.

In a statement Monday, Johnson said that the company had “received the Governor’s letter and appreciate its intent: to help make the state and all of us safer.” He added that PG&E would issue a formal response to the demands outlined by Newsom and the PUC.

The utilities commission had demanded that PG&E file a formal response by the end of the day on Wednesday to the several demands from the state agency.

“It is critical that PG&E, and all the other utilities in the state, learn from this event and take steps now to ensure that mistakes and operational gaps are not repeated,” Batjer wrote Monday.

Michael Dawson, a Lafayette resident and member of a grassroots group opposing PG&E’s tree removal plans in the town, suggested Monday that the governor’s rebate proposal did not go far enough.

“The rebate seems like a clumsy slap on the wrist,” Dawson said. “Would this rebate apply to people who bought generators and extra supplies but weren’t ultimately turned off by PG&E? Does this come close to reimbursing small businesses?”

In the Montclair neighborhood of Oakland, where residents and businesses were without electricity for more than 24 hours, Montclair Sports owner Tom Revelli said he appreciated the governor’s proposal but reckoned the effort will fall far short.

“In my business, $250 barely covers a part-time staffer and three hours of electricity,” Revelli said.

Ann Kakham, manager of Daughter Thai Kitchen, also located in the Montclair neighborhood, estimated that the restaurant lost out on $20,000 in business, in addition to the cost of spoiled perishables, as a result of the 24-hour power outage.

“I would say $250 would be in the spirit of PG&E, and comparing that to what we lost, it’s nothing,” Kakham said.

In an interview recently with this news organization, former PUC Commissioner Catherine Sandoval issued several harsh grades to PG&E for how the utility handled the planned power shutoffs.

“I would give PG&E an F for communication,” said Sandoval, who also assigned the utility a D-minus for planning and a D for how it has carried out its plans so far in 2019 to mitigate wildfire risks.

Staff writers Rex Crum and Jon Kawamoto contributed to this story.
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https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/power-blackouts-likely-again-hundreds-thousands-californians-week-n1069796

Power blackouts likely again for hundreds of thousands of Californians this week
Still reeling from criticism for shutting off power to up to 2 million people this month to prevent fires, PG&E says it could have to do it again.


A gas station was vacant in Santa Rosa, California, after power was shut down as part of a statewide blackout on Oct. 10, 2019.Josh Edelson / AFP - Getty Images file
Oct. 21, 2019, 5:41 PM AKDT
By Alex Johnson

LOS ANGELES — Less than two weeks after it was slammed for cutting off power to hundreds of thousands of customers to prevent wildfires, California's biggest utility said Monday it will likely have to do it again this week.

Pacific Gas & Electric Corp., or PG&E, said at a hastily arranged late afternoon news conference that it was calling, emailing and texting more than 200,000 customers in 15 Northern California counties to alert them that their power could be shut off for as long as 48 hours, starting Wednesday.

A power "customer" can be a single residence or a large business; the standard conversion utilities use assesses 2½ people per customer, meaning as many as a half-million people could be affected Wednesday. Most of the impact will be felt in the Sierra Foothills and the northern part of the San Francisco Bay area, the utility said.
Fast-moving fire threatens homes in Los Angeles
Oct. 21, 201901:26

PG&E said high winds and dry conditions would lead to a critical risk of wildfires sparked by faulty electric lines. Those same conditions plunged as many as 2 million people into darkness two weeks ago in rolling blackouts, which PG&E called a public safety power shutoff.

Californians from Gov. Gavin Newsom on down slammed PG&E for that blackout, especially as PG&E, like other utilities, has a policy of not reimbursing customers for lost business, housing alternatives or spoiled food and medicines.
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Oct. 10: PG&E power outage could cost the California economy more than $2 billion

To make matters worse, heavy user volume crashed PG&E's website for long periods, keeping customers from getting critical blackout and safety updates. Newsom said he was "outraged" by PG&E's performance, while state regulators called it "unacceptable."

PG&S said it was setting up a separate dedicated website to handle the extra load this time.

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Blackouts are "certainly not a tool we like to use," PG&E Chief Executive Bill Johnson said Monday. "It runs against the grain of why most of us got in the business."

But PG&E said the blackouts could be necessary because strong, dry offshore wind gusts that could exceed 55 mph were expected Wednesday and Thursday. In a notice to investors Monday, the utility said it found more than 100 "serious hazards" on its transmission lines from wind gusts during the shutdown two weeks ago.
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https://www.npr.org/2019/10/23/772854265/pg-e-imposes-new-power-shutoffs-in-parts-of-northern-california-to-avert-wildfir

PG&E Imposes New Power Shutoffs In Parts Of Northern California To Avert Wildfires

October 23, 20197:43 PM ET
Richard Gonzales at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., September 27, 2018. (photo by Allison Shelley)


Pacific Gas & Electric employees work in the PG&E Emergency Operations Center in San Francisco. Authorities say power outages have started again in parts of Northern California.
Jeff Chiu/AP

Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. has begun to cut power to about 179,000 customers in 17 counties in Northern California.

The utility announced what it calls "Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events" Wednesday morning after warning customers earlier of the likelihood of its actions to reduce the potential for wildfires.

"Based on the latest weather readings, PG&E will be turning off power in portions of our service area as outlined below," read the announcement.

The Wednesday afternoon blackouts involved parts of Alpine, Amado, Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sierra, Tehama, Yuba, Lake, Mendocino, Napa and Sonoma counties.

Portions of San Mateo county, just south of San Francisco, will have power outages early Thursday morning, as will Kern county in the Central Valley.

The power outages could last longer than 48 hours.

"Once the weather subsides and it is safe to do so, PG&E crews will begin patrolling power lines, repairing damaged equipment and restoring customers," the utility's announcement said.

Some customers will experience power outages even though their locality is not experiencing "critical fire weather," in other words, high winds that can damage power lines.
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💡 What would happen in an apocalyptic blackout?
« Reply #97 on: October 25, 2019, 12:09:08 AM »
https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20191023-what-would-happen-in-an-apocalyptic-blackout

What would happen in an apocalyptic blackout?


There was nothing the doctors could do. In almost total darkness, broken only by the beam of a couple of torches and the glow from their mobile phones, the hospital staff watched helplessly as their patient died in front of them. The elderly woman was suffering a blood clot in her lungs – a common, but life-threatening problem that can be treated with the right drugs and equipment.

Everything the doctors needed to save the woman – including a mechanical ventilator – was tantalisingly close, in the intensive care unit several floors below. But with no power in the nine-floor hospital in Maracay, they had no way to reach it. Without electricity the lifts did not work.

It was a situation being played out in hospitals dotted all over Venezuela in March this year during a five-day nationwide power black out that accompanied the growing political and economic crisis facing the South American country. Unprepared for the sudden loss of power, back-up generators in some hospitals failed while others only had enough energy to keep a few of the most vital wards functioning.

By the end of the five days an estimated 26 people had died in the country’s hospitals as a result of the power outage, according to figures collated by Doctors for Health, a group of concerned medics that have been monitoring the growing health crisis in Venezuela. Among those who died were kidney failure patients who could not get the vital dialysis treatment they needed, and gunshot victims on whom surgeons could not operate in the near darkness.

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Alongside the deaths were stories of pregnant women giving birth in dark hospital wards, doctors treating patients and surgeons performing operations using their mobile phones as torches, and babies in failing incubators.
Blackout in Venezuela hospital (Credit: Getty Images)

Hospitals over Venezuela lost power during a five-day nationwide black out this year (Credit: Getty Images)

“These babies need special care and without electricity for the incubators staff in neonatal units had to find blankets to keep the babies warm,” says Julio Castro, from the school of medicine at the Central University of Venezuela, who has been compiling the data for Doctors for Health, describing some of the stories that hospital staff had told him about the power outages.

“When the ventilators failed, the nurses and doctors had to do it manually by squeezing a rubber lung,” he says. “They were taking it in turns to keep these patients alive.”

The problems extended beyond the hospitals. Elderly people in high-rise flats had to be carried down stairs. People cooked food with fire and ate by candlelight. Without power, food spoiled in warming refrigerators, traffic lights failed and transport systems ground to a halt. The pumps that drove running water to people’s homes stopped, sending residents on a desperate search for water in nearby rivers, streams and even sewers.

Throughout the year, Venezuela has been plagued with power outages. Some are short and localised, lasting just a few minutes, others take hours for the power to come back, but some go on for days. As they have continued, Castro and his colleagues have recorded more deaths as a result.

“If you have even four hours without electricity in a hospital, it is far from normal,” says Castro. “The situation with the water is even worse. There are some hospitals that are having to ask patients to bring in their own water with them because they simply cannot get enough supply.”
Blackout in Venezuela (Credit: Getty Images)

The blackouts in Venezuela hit people's homes, causing pumps powering running water to stop and food to spoil in fridges. (Credit: Getty Images)

The situation he describes seems almost apocalyptic in a country that until a few years ago was one of the richest in South America and has the largest proven oil reserves in the world. Although the Venezuelan government blames sabotage and terrorists for the blackouts, others have pointed to years of poor investment and neglect of the country’s power grids as the cause.

But such widespread and long lasting power cuts, known as black sky events, are not restricted to countries teetering on the brink of collapse. Each year millions of people in the US and Canada are plunged into darkness by passing storms that bring down power lines.

In June this year, almost all of Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay were hit by a power outage that left nearly 40 million people without electricity. In August, almost a million people in the UK were left without power, trapping commuters on busy trains, when lightning strikes caused a gas-fired power plant and an offshore wind farm to shut down simultaneously.

These events, however, are minor in comparison to the kind of power outages that experts fear could be in store in the future. Growing demand on our electricity supplies from rising populations and new technologies like electric cars will face increasing instability as we shift to more renewable, but intermittent energy sources like wind and solar power. Extreme weather events driven by climate change will only heighten the risk to our power supplies further.

    We used to use the phrase ‘When the lights go out’, but the lights not working are the least of our worries now – Juliet Mian

“So much of our lives and almost everything we do is now dependent on energy, and particularly on our electricity supplies,” says Juliet Mian, technical director of the Resilience Shift, an organisation that is working to help organisations and individuals prepare for failures in critical infrastructure. “We used to use the phrase ‘when the lights go out’, but the lights not working are the least of our worries now.”
Traffic lights in power cut, Argentina

Traffic lights are just one of the aspects of transport infrastructure affected in huge power cuts. (Credit: Getty Images)

She is right. While the term “black sky” events illustrates perhaps the most visible impact of widespread power failures, it fails to convey the scale of the impact these can have. In our modern world, almost everything, from our financial systems to our communication networks, are utterly reliant upon electricity. Other critical infrastructure like water supplies and our sewer systems rely upon electric powered pumps to keep them running. With no power, fuel pumps at petrol stations stop working, road signs, traffic lights and train systems go dead. Transport networks grind to a halt.

Our complex food supply chains quickly fall apart without computers to coordinate where produce needs to be, or the fuel to transport it or refrigeration to preserve it. Air conditioning, gas boilers and heating systems also rely upon electricity to work.

A little over 100 years ago, our cities ran on human and animal muscle to ferry goods and waste around. Modern infrastructure is now utterly reliant upon electricity.

“In today’s world, our systems are highly interdependent and it is very hard to find many systems that are not fundamentally reliant upon power,” says Mian. “A black sky scenario will affect everyone.”

The causes of a black sky event are many. They vary from natural disasters like hurricanes or earthquakes to geomagnetic storms triggered by enormous flares from the Sun, or coronal mass ejections, that send a barrage of electrically charged particles racing across the Solar System and can overload electrical grids. One intense geomagnetic disturbance caused a nine-hour outage across large areas of Canada in 1989.

The Electric Infrastructure Security Council, an international body that reviews threats to power grids, also lists a number of human threats that can trigger a mass black out. These include cyberterrorism attacks or coordinated physical assaults on energy infrastructure such as power stations, and electromagnetic pulses that can disable electricity grids.
Blackout in supermarket, Buenos Aires

People use phones to illuminate goods in a supermarket in Buenos Aires, Argentina during a power cut (Credit: Getty Images)

Putting measures in place to counter all of these potential threats is difficult and expensive. Critical systems can be guarded from human attacks and they can be shielded from electromagnetic pulses. Building new systems for protecting transformers from coronal mass ejections can also help to keep systems safe.

But there are some events that cannot be planned for and the complex, interconnected nature of our electricity grids are remarkably vulnerable. Take what happened in September 2003 when a fallen tree brought down a power line in Switzerland’s Lukmanier Pass over the Alps into Italy and 24 minutes later another tree came down onto a line in the nearby Great St Bernard pass. The sudden failure of these two key lines caused other connections to Europe’s electricity network to trip, which triggered power plants across Italy to shut down. The whole of Italy was left without power because of two fallen trees starting a cascade of events.

Modern electricity grids are increasingly interconnected and complicated, making failures like this difficult to predict. Most of Europe now runs off a massive interconnected power grid – probably the largest in the world – that supplies more than 400 million customers in 24 countries. The USA is made up of five different grids.

But there are some that are seeking ways of anticipating potential power failures and are enlisting the help of artificial intelligence to help them grapple with this highly complex problem.

When a power plant goes down, for example, it causes an abrupt spike in load on others on the network, which in turn slows down the generators at these plants and causes the frequency held on the grid to decrease. This risks destabilising the delicate balance that electricity grids are held in, and operators have to deploy countermeasures rapidly – often within milliseconds – to prevent sections of the grid being cut off.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft research institute in Ilmenau, Germany, recently revealed they are developing an AI system to automatically detect these disturbances and take steps to address them.
NYPD officer during power cut in Manhattan

A major outage left both traffic and and subway users in Manhattan in the dark earlier this year. (Credit: Getty Images)

The US Department of Energy is also funding $7m (£5.4m) of research into using artificial intelligence to not only predict potential outages and spot anomalies that might lead to larger problems, but also to help find ways of keeping supplies constant in the event of a problem.

General Electric is using machine learning to help analyse weather forecasts past outage history and information on the ground from its response crews to predict the impact that impending storms might have on its networks. It is also using it to predict where its repair crews might need to be so that downed lines can be restored more quickly.

Power grids can also help to protect themselves by increasing the amount of energy storage such as large scale batteries they have available so that supplies can be supplemented when generators do go off-line unexpectedly.

But completely protecting our power networks from failures is almost impossible, says Mian.

“We can’t necessarily design our systems so that failures don’t happen,” she says. “There’s so much complexity in our systems these failures can cascade and they can become much more widespread, which means the failure is quite often unavoidable. But what we can do is design our systems so that they can respond and recover quickly.”

This is what the Resilience Shift is now trying to improve. It has been organising exercises in collaboration with the Electric Infrastructure Security Council (EIS) that help large organisations, universities, schools, community groups and even families prepare themselves for an event that might lead to mass power cuts for several days at a time.

The Emergency All-sector Response Transnational Hazard Exercise, or Earth Ex, is an online exercise that allows people to rehearse the decisions they need to make and put in place the plans they need should the worst happen.

    When the electricity grid fails, there is this risk of cascading impacts from what might seem to be a relatively minor event – John Heltzel

“We want people to be thinking about these things long before there is a problem,” says John Heltzel, director of resilience planning at the EIS. “It’s important because when the electricity grid fails, there is this risk of cascading impacts that can occur from what might at first seem to be a relatively minor event.

This cascade effect is where the real damage can be done. As the people of Venezuela have discovered, even basic service like water can stop when the power goes out.

“It’s effectively [like going] back to the dark ages,” says Heltzel.
Sunset during a power cut in Venezuela

People can become trapped in lifts or in high-rise buildings during power outages (Credit: Getty Images)

A report by scientists at University College London mapped out how the loss of power can filter through communities, from the loss of health care provision and sanitation services to citizens trapped in lifts and disruption to transport systems.

Then there are the social consequences that percolate out. Crime rates often go up during blackouts as they provide opportunities for theft and fraud. The supply of cash and credit – particularly in our modern societies so reliant upon electronic and card payments – dry up meaning people have to rely on whatever cash they happen to have squirreled away. Communication networks and the ability to contact loved ones disappear, while vulnerable people like the elderly are often left stranded in their own homes.

Businesses are also left largely unable to operate, resulting in huge economic impacts. In 2004, the Department of Energy estimated the annual cost of power outages in the US to be around $80bn (£62bn) annually. When two million customers in California had their supplies cut for two days in October this year, experts estimated the cost to the economy to be around $2.5bn (£1.9bn).

Heltzel knows first hand the kind of chaos large-scale power outages can cause. He is a retired brigadier general who spent 33 years in the Kentucky National Guard and also served as the deputy commander of the Kentucky Joint Force Headquarters. In 2009, the state was hit by a series of ice storms that brought powerlines tumbling down under the weight of rime ice and snow building up on the wires.

“On one day we got an ice storm, followed by a snow storm, followed by another ice storm,” recalls Heltzel. The build up of ice was so great it even brought down steel utility structures designed to withstand hurricane force winds and snapped wooden power poles “like toothpicks”, according to a later Congressional hearing.

“We lost power in all of western Kentucky,” says Heltzel. “From a state perspective, of 120 counties, we had 114 placed into a state of emergency. It meant that people were stuck in their houses and couldn't get to the stores to buy food. So, we had people that were going hungry and we had people whose wells were frozen over. They could not get water through the normal municipal water systems. At the same time the communications networks weren't working, so they could not call for help.”

The Kentucky National Guard mobilised 12,000 soldiers and airmen to go door-to-door delivering food to people. They also requested emergency generators to get the water supply back up and running. Emergency communication stations were brought in from other states to restore the telephone and radio network.

Even so, the hardest hit areas were without power for weeks.

“We were flying people who managed the electricity grid up and down their power lines in our helicopters so they could assess how many poles and cables they needed,” says Heltzel. “But even with all the resources we brought to bear, it took four and half weeks for the last house to be reconnected.”
Man picking up bottled water in supermarket

The Electric Infrastructure Security Council recommends having a two-week supply of bottled water at home in case of power cuts. (Credit: Getty Images)

Around 35 people in Kentucky and 30 in neighbouring states lost their lives. At least eight of the deaths were due to carbon monoxide poisoning due to diesel generators and kerosene heaters being used indoors without proper ventilation.

This is why Heltzel believes planning for a black sky event before one happens is so important. Organisations like hospitals, water suppliers and large companies can make sure they regularly service their back-up generators, and have a sufficient supply of fuel to keep them running. Churches and schools can make sure they have blankets on hand and other facilities to help those who might become stranded and need shelter.

On an individual level, we can all take steps too. From simple things like having torches with plenty of spare batteries to hand, to ensuring we have adequate supplies of bottled water to fall back on – the EIS recommends having two weeks worth of water with two litres a day per person and one litre for pets. Keeping cupboards stocked with non-perishable foods like rice, pasta and canned vegetables, is also advised.

But the Heltzel and his team also have some more unusual tips for families looking to prepare for a black sky event. Baby formula, for example, is a good source of nutrition even if you don’t have young children. A good supply of rubbish bags is also important – these can be tucked under the toilet seat if the water stops running, allowing you to bury your waste outside.

Keeping a stash of emergency cash could also be a life saver.

    We want people to be part of the solution rather than the problem – John Heltzel

“One of the things we talk about for individuals and families is turning yourself from being a survivor into someone who can help with the restoration,” adds Heltzel. “We want people to be part of the solution rather than the problem. That might be being part of wider community efforts to build resilience or simply helping others who are not as prepared.”

In Venezuela, the medical staff have become a perfect example of this. Following the first nationwide black outs, the number of deaths in hospitals have declined with each subsequent black out. Julio Castro, from Doctors for Health, puts this partly down to the shorter length of the power outages, but also to the preparations that hospital staff put in place.

“Now they are aware of the problem they have put procedures in place,” says Castro. “They have made sure they have fuel and the back up generators are working. They have rotas for when they need to do manual ventilation and manual back ups for their equipment.
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💡 Map: PG&E power outage warnings for Saturday
« Reply #98 on: October 25, 2019, 07:39:51 PM »
That is a REALLY highly populated area!   :o

RE

https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/10/25/map-pge-power-outage-warnings-for-saturday/

Map: PG&E power outage warnings for Saturday

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Map: PG&E power outage warnings for Saturday
NewsAccidents and Fires


Map: PG&E power outage warnings for Saturday
Potential shutdown on October 26 covers much of the Bay Area

By Bay Area News Group |
PUBLISHED: October 25, 2019 at 7:46 am | UPDATED: October 25, 2019 at 3:57 pm

The planned shutdown is shown in mustard color on the map. Zoom on the map to see your community.

Click here if you can’t see the map above on your mobile device.

Even before electricity was restored for those affected by Wednesday’s power shutoffs, Pacific Gas & Electric was warning of a bigger outage possible over the weekend.

The map of the potentially affected area covers much of the Bay Area, as well as the Sierra foothills, the Redding area and Humboldt County.

Related Articles

    Kincade Fire: Why PG&E is on the hot seat again over latest devastating wildfire
    Why this weekend’s winds could be so dangerous
    Kincade Fire grows as region looks to next possible round of shutoffs
    Map: The six new fires burning in California
    Map: Tick Fire evacuations after flames jump highway

In a 2 p.m. announcement, the company said that 850,000 customers in 36 counties across California may lose power starting at 6 p.m. because of the winds it called “historic.” The shutdowns will continue through 10 p.m. and are expected to last at least 48 hours.

Approximately 57,630 customers in Alameda County; 48,824 in Contra Costa County and 27,093 in Santa Clara County will be affected.

Another 92,877 customers in Sonoma County; 86,813 in Marin County; 64,932 in San Mateo County; 44,945 in Santa Cruz County; 10,232 in Solano County and 993 in Monterey County will be without electricity.
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💡 With new outage announced, Berkeley residents may have no reprieve
« Reply #99 on: October 28, 2019, 04:59:50 AM »
A week without the JUICE in a major metro area is getting into Children of Men territory.  :o

https://www.berkeleyside.com/2019/10/27/with-new-outage-announced-berkeley-residents-may-have-no-reprieve

With new outage announced, Berkeley residents may have no reprieve

By Emilie RagusoOct. 27, 2019, 10 p.m.


A view of the Berkeley Hills from downtown Sunday night. Photo: Emilie Raguso

More than 7,000 PG&E customers in Berkeley remained without power Sunday night and relief may still be days away.

The utility company said a new planned blackout event due to high fire danger will begin Tuesday and that it may not have a chance to get power back to all its customers before the new wave of shutoffs starts. No estimate was available Sunday night as to how many Berkeleyans would be affected in the upcoming outage, but PG&E told city staff it “will follow a similar footprint to the most recent fire-related planned outages.”

Berkeley homes in the hills and down into the Elmwood and Claremont neighborhoods began having their power cut Saturday night. Sunday, the city was busy with reports of dozens of downed trees and branches, some of which took down power lines and caused property damage as winds gusted through town.

PG&E said it plans to issue the “all-clear” for the current outage Monday morning, but restoring power to everyone affected can take another two to five days beyond that due to requisite line inspections and repairs to damage caused by recent extreme weather. The next shutoff is set to begin Tuesday and last until Wednesday — with restoration potentially coming two to five days later.
Fourth Trick19 300x250 10/14 - 10/31

“This nearly weeklong loss of electricity means that many in Berkeley will need to take extra steps to stay without power for up to a week, while also preparing through Wednesday for potential wildfire evacuations,” the city said in a statement Sunday. The city “will continue to keep increased levels of police, fire and civilian staff working 24 hour shifts to respond to any events caused by loss of electricity, heavy winds, and heavy fire danger.”
A massive tree that fell on Miller Avenue near Shasta Path. Photo: Chris Anderson

With all the tree damage in Berkeley on Sunday, city spokesman Matthai Chakko said the city prioritized damage that might affect power lines. The city kept the Tarea Hall Pittman South Branch of the Berkeley Public Library open Sunday for extended hours, while PG&E set up a community resource center with snacks and charging stations near the Clark Kerr Campus. The center at Clark Kerr will be open Monday as well, Chakko said.

“This is going to be a bit of a marathon because it’s so many days,” he told Berkeleyside on Sunday night. The fire danger is real, he added: “That’s what we really need people to be cautious about and plan ahead for and take seriously.”

The city has encouraged community members who need a space to power up to visit the libraries during working hours. After hours, a wifi signal will be available outside those buildings, too.

UC Berkeley has canceled classes Monday so it can conserve power from its generators. East Bay Regional Park District parks and trails have been closed until 9 a.m. Tuesday “due to extreme weather and fire dangers.” Berkeley Unified has said it will be open Monday, but that two schools may not have power.

In addition to responding to weather-related damage around town, the city has been working to be sure its residents who need electricity for medical equipment were informed about PG&E’s plans, Chakko said. PG&E gave the city a list of about 65 people whom it could not contact about this weekend’s outage and, over the past two days, Berkeley staff were able to call or visit with most of them, Chakko said. City staffers have been working to determine what the needs of those individuals are and do what they can to help them plan for outages and evacuations.

In addition to addressing local needs by sending out additional patrols of first responders, the city has also sent some police and firefighters up to Sonoma County to help with firefighting and safety-related efforts there. The Kincade Fire north of Geyserville has burned about 54,000 acres since it began three days ago, according to Cal Fire. It is just 5% contained.
BR White Noise (NP) 300x250 9/26 - 11/8

As of 7 p.m. Sunday, 180,000 people were being evacuated from the region and nearly 80,000 structures were listed as threatened. Nearly 100 structures have already been destroyed. There have been no reported injuries or fatalities.
PG&E: 500,000 have been notified of another outage starting Tuesday

In a media briefing Sunday evening, PG&E’s chief meteorologist, Scott Strenfel, said the very strong “Diablo” windstorm that began overnight Sunday was the “strongest offshore windstorm we’ve seen” since the devastating fires that ripped through wine country in October 2017. By some metrics, he added, this weekend’s weather was even stronger.

Berkeleyside, along with about 50 other members of the media, phoned in to the conference call with PG&E. Other reporters were in the room for the briefing in San Francisco at PG&E Headquarters at 245 Market St.

Some parts of the Bay Area — in the North Bay — saw gusts Sunday at or above 90 mph, Strenfel told them. Sustained winds of 74 mph are considered hurricane force, he said.

In the coming days, PG&E believes its crews will find “significant damage” to its lines as a result of these high winds and nearby vegetation. The last weather event that prompted a shutoff saw damage to more than 120 PG&E “assets,” he said, and this weekend’s weather was even more intense.

Strenfel said the offshore wind event expected to begin Tuesday appears to be weaker than what’s been happening this weekend. He did share what he called a “sliver of good news,” noting that current weather models are not showing anything of concern post-Wednesday.
BerkeleyOptometry Be - January 2017 - 300x250

PG&E’s senior director of Emergency Preparedness and Response Mark Quinlan said about 965,000 customers had been affected by the planned blackout over the weekend, while another 100,000 customers had seen service drop because of “emergent outages” related to weather and equipment issues.

As of Sunday evening, he said, PG&E had begun the power restoration process for eight of the 38 counties affected by the weekend’s planned outage. That was “very, very good news” for the utility, he said, because it had not anticipated being able to begin line inspections and other restoration work until Monday.

Quinlan said PG&E plans to issue “all-clears” for everyone else from the weekend outage between 6-8 a.m. Monday. But that doesn’t mean they’ll get their power back, he cautioned: The agency has already notified 500,000 customers that they may be part of the next planned shutoff, he said.

PG&E field teams include 6,000 people and 44 helicopters, as well as a Cal OES airplane that is able to use a high-resolution camera and infrared technology to assess PG&E equipment overnight.

PG&E says it has another 230 people set to join its field teams this week and has made a mutual aid request for 150 four-person heavy construction crews to help with repairs caused by the high winds.

In addition, he said, PG&E is working with its “contracting partners” to bring another 40 helicopters online to help the restoration effort move faster.

Andy Vesey, CEO and president of PG&E, said the agency has aimed previously to get the power back on for all its customers before a new shutoff event hits.

“We try to get it back on before turning it off again,” he said, pausing. “This one’s gonna be tight.”

He said customers should aim to do whatever they can to charge their devices so they can continue to get updates from PG&E and authorities about plans as they develop.

“I urge all of you to ensure you are prepared for the fact that your power may not come back,” he said.

Vesey said he had visited some PG&E community resource centers over the weekend to hear directly from customers about what they were experiencing.

“What we do is not popular,” he said. “I will not tell you that people congratulated us. People were angry.”

Vesey said he came back from those conversations with ideas about how to improve the public safety power shutoff process going forward. He said he could not share specifics about those ideas — but does want to make some changes.

He told the media, too, that some PG&E workers had been “accosted and threatened” over the weekend, and asked community members not to take out their emotions on the front-line staff.

“I know there is a lot of anger,” he said. “Please do not direct that to our men and women — our employees, our contracted people — who are there to keep you safe and restore your power as quickly as possible.”

Vesey said PG&E has 30,000 miles of conductor — “which is more than can wrap around the earth” — and that it closely monitors the highest-risk wildfire zones to keep debris from contacting its lines, particularly in high-wind zones where the fuel is plentiful.

According to PG&E’s online outage map, there were 37 outages in the city that were affecting 7,080 customers as of publication time. The city has said that translates into approximately three times as many people. The vast majority of the outages, according to the map, were part of the planned shutoff, but a number of other scattered outages had also been reported around town.
PG&E’s outage map for Berkeley as of publication time.
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💡 Bay Area Residents Prepare For Next PG&E Safety Power Shutoff
« Reply #100 on: November 19, 2019, 07:07:06 PM »
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/CzsOYUsPDZQ" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/CzsOYUsPDZQ</a>
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https://www.kcra.com/article/pgande-power-shutoffs-announced-northern-california/29851329

PG&E to shut off power to at least 150,000 customers Wednesday
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KCRA Updated: 12:15 AM PST Nov 20, 2019
KCRA Staff
Show Transcript
SACRAMENTO, Calif. —

PG&E will begin to shut off power Wednesday to about 150,000 customers across 18 Northern California counties, the utility announced Tuesday evening.

Officials said a forecast of strong offshore wind early Wednesday morning and dry conditions led PG&E to decide to shut off power in the Sierra Foothills, the North Valley and North Bay. Customers who will be impacted in those regions were notified Monday morning.
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The shutoffs will begin between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. Wednesday and will continue in phases throughout the day until 4 p.m. PG&E said its goal would be to return power to customers by the end of the day Thursday.

The power shutoffs will include portions of the following counties: Amador, Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Solano, Sonoma, Tehama, Yolo and Yuba.

(Can't see the map below? Tap here to see it)

The shutoffs are part of PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutoff program, which is designed to reduce the threat of wildfires that could be sparked by lines brought down in gusting winds. PG&E's equipment has been blamed for causing a series of destructive wildfires in recent years.

| MORE | Schools announce closures due to power shutoffs

The utility will open 35 community resource centers across impacted counties. You can see the list of centers here.

PG&E's power shutoffs have drawn ire from residents, businesses and local governments. Gov. Gavin Newsom has threatened a possible state takeover of the troubled utility.

Customers can watch for updates here.
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