, 24 tweets, 9 min read
Hello everyone who's mystified by all the blackout posts coming from California's #Powerpocalypse , here's an explainer thread:
1. The basics: Our electric grid is owned by a profit-maximizing business called Pacific Gas and Electric.
2. PG&E is both the country's largest electric utility, AND a convicted felon. thomasjhenrylaw.com/blog/premises-…
3. PG&E is presently in bankruptcy because its neglected equipment sparked massive wildfires over the past two years. reuters.com/article/us-pg-…
4. PG&E doesn't want to rack up more wildfire liability...
...but it also hasn't completed two thirds of the inspections and maintenance it told a judge it needs to make the system safer.
5. So now that it's dry and windy, they are TURNING OFF THE POWER for up to 2.5 MILLION people, for up to SIX DAYS.
6. This was largely preventable (if PG&E had been trimming trees, replacing transformers, and maintaining decrepit towers). kqed.org/news/11737336/…
7. Bad things blackouts do:
-Spoil food
-Cut off water
-Shut down highway tunnels
-Close businesses
-Cost wages
-Trap people who need elevators/motorized chairs
-Kill people
-Start fires (because without power, people light candles, fire up gas generators, cook on grilles, etc.)
8. PG&E doesn't have to pay the tab for any of ^. Just for starting wildfires.
9. But the blackouts are ultimately PG&E's call. Not the state. Not the utility commission*. PG&E.
(*The PUC does approve PG&E's plan for managing wildfire risk in general) utilitydive.com/news/cpuc-dire…
10. Why the flurry of surprised posts? Even though PG&E's planned to do something like this for close to a year, they have been absolute crap at actually managing it....
11. The official source of information on which areas will be blacked out is PG&E's website. It's been down since yesterday . . .
12. There are going to be millions of people without electricity for days. With a couple exceptions, PG&E's set up only one emergency resource center PER COUNTY. . .
13. They only started working on how to keep the region's busiest highway tunnels open . . . yesterday.
14. The emergency resource centers they *have* set up are, uhm . . . spartan. Also, they close at night.
15. "But I thought utility companies are super *regulated*?"
And they also have $ to finance the electeds who pick their regulators, and hire their former staff to lobby their old bosses!
16. (Maplight breaks out PG&E investment in state-level politicians here: classic.maplight.org/california/org…
Opensecrets has federal data, and the employment history of the lobbyists working for them here: opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.p… )
This is blowing up! Donate to my radio station's fund drive here so we can keep making local journalism: secure.kpfa.org/support/
Seriously, right now while I'm just tweting our producer is hounding county officials to find out what happens if the jails lose power and booking interviews with state senators on the utilities committee -- help make sure there's a paycheck for her. KPFA.org/support
Thank you!
TBH, a big swath of our audience will wake up with no power this morning, and we're worried it will wreck @kpfa's ability to raise our budget during this fund drive.
Donate: secure.kpfa.org/support
Thank you Utah, San Carlos, and East Sussex!
It meant tons that these came in just as our Program Director slipped us an announcement that we've cancelled a benefit scheduled for tonight--because the venue has no electricity. Help here: secure.kpfa.org/support
RN our fundraising staff
are happily puzzled that there's a flood of donations coming in from out of state with references to a Twitter thread:
(join in at secure.kpfa.org/support )
@kpfa LOCALS: Here's a fantastic give/get mutual aid spreadsheet for weathering the blackout in the East Bay: docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d…
LOCALS: if you're aghast at how poorly we're managing a planned blackout, now is a good time to get productively terrified about the Hayward Fault:
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