Auto Glass Shop Owner Describes How He Handled a Widespread Power Outage

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) conducted a planned power outage that impacted hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses, including auto glass shops, last week. One shop owner recalled how his company handled the experience after finding out about it just a few hours before it was set to take place.

“We were without power last Wednesday, we were in the city on Tuesday and toward the end of the day we heard about the planned power outage. We do a lot of autos and also residential, but there wasn’t anything we could do about that [power outage] at that point,” said Terry McCutchan, McKinleyville Glass Co. owner.

According to McCutchan, his business was only without power for one day and didn’t experience a loss of businesses, “basically for that day we just didn’t show up for work, it was a little odd.”

Prior to the widespread outage the company informed state officials and the public that it would shut off power to a large area of Northern California, which would potentially leave millions in the dark.

“The Public Safety Power Shutoff will occur in three phases, with the first phase impacting approximately 513,000 customers beginning at 12 a.m. Wednesday morning,” a portion of PG&E’s notice reads.

“This current operation is unacceptable,” said California Gov. Gavin Newsom, when he addressed the public last Thursday. “The current conditions and circumstances are unacceptable.” He mentioned the planned power outage was “something no United States utility had done in recent memory.”

The decision to turn off power was based on forecasts of dry, hot and windy weather including potential fire risk, according to PG&E.

“The safety of our customers and the communities we serve is our most important responsibility, which is why PG&E has decided to turn power off to customers during this widespread, severe wind event. We understand the effects this event will have on our customers and appreciate the public’s patience as we do what is necessary to keep our communities safe and reduce the risk of wildfire,” said Michael Lewis, PG&E electric operations senior vice president.

Most residents and businesses in the impacted areas had power restored by Friday, according to PG&E. Those who were impacted aren’t looking to experience this again anytime in the near future.

“This is the first time we [the business] have ever experienced a planned power outage and now everything is back to normal as normal can be … and we don’t want another outage anytime soon,” said McCutchan.

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