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PG&E Plans Preventive Power Outages in High Winds

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PG&E Plans Preventive Power Outages in High Winds

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Wed 13 Jun 2018, 16:09:49

Cal Fire's months-long investigation of last year's destructive and deadly wild fires has concluded that PG&E's power lines sparked more than a dozen fires that killed dozens of people and destroyed hundreds of structures.

http://abc7news.com/cal-fire-releases-cause-of-12-north-bay-wildfires/3579377/

As a result, and still facing hundreds of lawsuits for wrongful deaths and property destruction, PG&E announced on last night's news a plan to proactively shut off power in Cal Fire's designated "Tier 3" fire danger zones when high winds are forecasted. Whenever possible, advance notice will be given 48 hours before the outage, and the warning repeated 24 hours prior to the shutoff.

I have long been prepared for this with a portable generator and flashlights and lanterns. These warning should result in the sale of many more generators and lanterns and flashlights. Hopefully, lives will also be saved.
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Re: PG&E Plans Preventive Power Outages in High Winds

Unread postby EdwinSm » Fri 15 Jun 2018, 04:13:48

I presume that it would be too costly to bury the cables.

We have some expensive work going on in our area to bury the electricity cables - expensive because on top of everything there are a lot of granite rocks that need to be blown up to actually get the cables underground.



At least with power cuts built into the system people will start planning to be prepared for outages.
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Re: PG&E Plans Preventive Power Outages in High Winds

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Fri 15 Jun 2018, 11:00:13

That's interesting. That might push some people into going to some kind of battery back up system sooner than they would otherwise, even if they're not crazy about the cost. Unless you want to wrestle with a portable generator, hauling gasoline, starting it, etc., then an automatic whole-house generator system, while reliable (at least for several years -- don't know about longer term) is expensive once properly installed.
Given the track record of the perma-doomer blogs, I wouldn't bet a fast crash doomer's money on their predictions.
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Re: PG&E Plans Preventive Power Outages in High Winds

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Fri 15 Jun 2018, 11:13:46

It's true that constructing underground power transmission costs more than overhead towers. When you add maintenance into the mix, the break-even point occurs at 17-23 years or so, assuming simple digging machine excavations without having to dynamite rocky ground. While underground power transmission lines are less vulnerable to wind damage, the lightning vulnerability is a wash, as destructive lightning-caused currents frequently are conducted through the ground.

There are other considerations. Adding capacity to steel towers is merely adding additional conductors. Adding capacity underground is much harder, as it may involve additional excavation.
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