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  1. #1
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    Default California Power Outages

    Finally I get a break, I'm going fishing tomorrow.

    PG&E is permanently damaged, they can not supply reliable power any more.

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    It is not PG&E's fault. The local governments do not allow them to cut back the trees as much as they would like. As far as cutting down the trees forget it. With the lawsuits it is cheaper to shut down then risk a fire with billions in damages including that lost psychic income.
    Bill D

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill D View Post
    It is not PG&E's fault. The local governments do not allow them to cut back the trees as much as they would like. As far as cutting down the trees forget it. With the lawsuits it is cheaper to shut down then risk a fire with billions in damages including that lost psychic income.
    Bill D
    PG&E is looking for another round with Brockovich.

    The most productive region in the country, and they can't deliver.....

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    My own take is that PG&E has been a poorly managed company for decades -- and it is finally catching up with both them and their customers.

    FWIW, I have 33 acres near the coast. A power (and phone and fiber) line serving the 35 families on our road cuts through part of my property. PG&E will send a sub-contractor down to trim trees and that subcontractor's team will park down below, pull out their chainsaws, and do nothing most of the day. Zero oversight -- and PG&E didn't much care to know of it when I pointed it out to them.

    Tree trimming between PG&E and the phone company is a joke. Trees are trimmed specifically (per those doing the trimming) to clear the power lines, but interfere with the phone lines a few feet below (phone company doesn't pay for trimming). Sensible management would have worked that out with the phone company decades ago. A better trim job would be cheaper for both PG&E and the phone company and avoid some of the fires now costing them zillions.

    Then we have the lack of maintenance leading to multiple gas explosions and further liability a few years earlier -- this from a company with some of the highest rates in the country. It's simply not a well-run utility, nor with good oversight from the State, it's board, or shareholders. Hard to say what bit of electric hell customers will go through before it gets better.

    Customer relationships have also been a mess. PG&E only tries to "make nice" when it wants a rate increase. Best unit of the company has been the repair crews -- they seem motivated and effective. Thing is, repairing stuff in the middle of a storm is the expensive way to maintain a system.

    While PG&E is a private company, it has been without meaningful competition for so many decades it seems (to me) that it degenerated to short-term profit taking and self-serving management. Sadly, like many other segments of our economy.

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    pg&e is a public company and now...is a good time to buy.

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    PG&E tree trimming contractor Davey is having no trouble aggresivly trimming and removing trees here. I have had a few smaller ones completely cut down and several neigbors also had some large trees (24" trunks) cut to the ground, some of which were nowhere near under the lines. Thought is if it could fall on the lines it could be a danger. 2 of the neighbors had sick or dead trees and the third was under some lines.

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    Quote Originally Posted by as9100d View Post
    pg&e is a public company and now...is a good time to buy.
    Curious why you think that. Reason the stock price is so low is because they face bankruptcy.

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    Well seeing as how they would have paid 30billion and filed and then got it to 11 billon...id say that filing was a smart move. Bankruptcy doesnt mean the company is over....just that its restructuring to settle debts. Pg&E will live on and the stock will increase just give it a few years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by as9100d View Post
    Well seeing as how . . .
    You might be right IF the bankruptcy doesn't wipe out current shareholders. Far as I can tell that's touch and go.

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    Further reasearcg shows power companys wants 50" clearance on both sides of a power line. PG&E gets permission for about 20 feet only. The other issue is tall trees. They really should be topped so if they fall they do not take out the lines. But people complain when trees are cleared 200' to each side.

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    Same experience here in Qld with powerline tree trimming.......zero work done by two complete gangs with trucks ,cherry pickers ,chippers etc......they cut a few branches you could dispose of in a domestic bin.Days work....Another time ,I rang about a tree damaging my house wire.....a gang turned ,and did nothing.....just sat there all day shooting the breeze and fooling round.....said the chipper truck driver was unwell.....and judging by the giggling,he was actually drunk ,and they were covering for him.....then the power prices goes up yet again,because the company are "gold plating the network" to avoid blackouts.

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    Should see how they do it in Arkansas. They have big track driven trucks with long extension booms with a giant saw blade at the end. They slick the side of the tree near the line and not a single branch remains in the way

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    Sorry this is happening. How bad to have the power off. Pete notices a obvious problem with clearing the power and phone lines. I do wonder nowadays how manny use cellphones rather than landlines. Landlines have become a more reasonable cost today compared to the past I guess.

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    it's just a bunch of assholes flexing their muscles and seeing how many people they can inconvenience and piss off. Purely political horseshit.
    YouTube

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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Dickman View Post
    it's just a bunch of assholes flexing their muscles and seeing how many people they can inconvenience and piss off. Purely political horseshit.
    YouTube
    IIRC last time this leetle game was played, some people died.

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    Even better is how their website is down during the biggest power outage of the year, so no one can check and see if they are on the list for getting shut off.

    PG&E fucked up big time, so instead of getting their act together and fixing their shit, they choose to screw over hundreds of thousands of customers. Can't wait for the next rate hike.

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    Partly PG&E is hoping to get government permission to cut back more trees and to eliminate legal liability for weather caused fires. Their current policy is similar to doctors requiring costly tests just to cover themselves in case they miss something.
    If they piss off enough voters the government will be pressured to change the laws and give PG&E what they want.
    Bill D

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    Quote Originally Posted by bucktruck View Post
    Even better is how their website is down during the biggest power outage of the year, so no one can check and see if they are on the list for getting shut off.

    PG&E fucked up big time, so instead of getting their act together and fixing their shit, they choose to screw over hundreds of thousands of customers. Can't wait for the next rate hike.
    Another game these assholes play. Public service announcements one after the other urging people to conserve, but then they need to raise their rates because usage is down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill D View Post
    Partly PG&E is hoping to get government permission to cut back more trees and to eliminate legal liability for weather caused fires. Their current policy is similar to doctors requiring costly tests just to cover themselves in case they miss something.
    If they piss off enough voters the government will be pressured to change the laws and give PG&E what they want.
    Bill D
    Didn't they get hit with heavy fines last time for "starting" the fire when wind blown branches on the trees they weren't allowed to trim properly hit the lines and ignited?

    Typical California, prevent people cutting firebreaks for environmental reasons and then bitch when fires spread.

  25. #20
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    There are other factors in play in California beyond PG&E failings:
    - California law is structured such that utilities are liable for damage even if they aren't at fault
    - folks in California keep building houses further and further into the forested/high fire risk areas
    - long-term suppression of fires has resulted in accumulation of fuels...long ago many fires should have just been allowed to burn out the fuel
    - warmer climate has resulted in huge numbers of failing/dead trees

    The solution will not be to put the entire burden on utilities, it'll be to have state wide re-insurance coverage much like what was done for earthquake coverage. In addition, PG&E needs to invest in improved infra-structure including insulated wires, much wider open space around power lines, etc. Already insurance companies are refusing to insure certain parts of California, this will get worse....State politicians are gonna have to step up and solve this mess in a more systemic manner or we'll have a) unreliable power, and b) no ability to buy insurance.

    And yes, my shop has no power as of 2:30am this morning.....

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