Given California’s increase in frequency of wildfires the largest utility in the state, PG&E, has decided to cut power on days with exceptionally high winds to prevent power lines from starting fires. PG&E has admitted that Camp Fire from last November was began from a line that snapped during windy weather; Camp Fire did $16.5B in damages, and destroyed 18,804 buildings.
At notice of this California residents are looking for other ways to power their homes if the utility decides to cut power for some time. Among these are solar power and batteries; additionally Governor Gavin Newsom had budgeted $75M in efforts to help communities during these times. Power cuts could potentially not be limited to a day or two, most likely a whole week. In the past 18 months, 6 of the 10 deadliest wildfires in California’s history took place, calling for a time to action.
Conditions for the birth of wildfires start in the month of June and last until December, where the unusually dry weather turns the woods into tinder. PG&E lost an approximate $30B during alone during the Camp Fire incident, almost bringing it to bankruptcy. They expect with confidence of being able to give customers a 2 day notice in advance before shutting off power, and have action plans ready with city officials in case they decide to do so.
Reliability in the power grid is key to business confidence; once again too big to fail, fails and takes everyone down with them.