PG&E was able to accomplish something in the last 24 hours that has not happened since the Loma Prieto Earthquake. They shook all of NorCal to the core. PG&E announced they were going to shut off power to 600-800k homes in Northern California, in 34 different counties. This has been going on, albeit on a much smaller scale, over the last couple months because…well if PG&E is liable when their equipment causes a fire, they should have the right to cut the cord to your electricity. However it was never done on a scale this large, and as a result brought out a plethora of people who are; woke, shook, naïve, and others who get all their news from cable television.
Yikes! Boy is it fun to watch this drama unfold. As a result of watching the impending doom on the 24/7 news station of their choice, people suddenly started worrying that they could be without power for weeks…or that their area was affected…and as predicted by William in this space, panic began to set in. People suddenly began talking around the watercooler about solar power, backup batteries, and generators. Overnight these otherwise clueless people became armchair preppers.
I call these people; woke, naïve, shook, and cable watchers because they take a headline written for a cable news outlet (or their website) by some guy in Atlanta, New York, or Washington, D.C. and blow it way out of proportion.
Look at this text message I received…keep in mind if you live in Sacramento County like this guy does, you get your power from SMUD not PG&E. When I reminded him of this, it didn’t deter him in the least. He kept on objecting that it was on television and the radio so it must be true. What I told him didn’t matter; he wouldn’t believe me even after providing him irrefutable evidence.
He kept objecting, “But I saw it on the news.” It wasn’t until I finally sent him an official statement from SMUD saying no blackouts are planned that he finally backed down.
(Editor’s note: I heard people voicing similar concerns at work as this was unfolding. People had no clue who their electric provider is even though they pay a monthly electric bill. I was amazed that a graphic used in a television broadcast could so easily override common sense and create such an uproar.)
Another friend of mine in PG&E territory called in a panic. I told her she wouldn’t be affected either as she lives in a heavily populated urban area…still it wasn’t good enough. Even after I sent this person the official map of affected homes from PG&E, this did nothing because she “heard it on the news.”
The blackouts have started and they are only affecting very rural areas so far; think Angel’s Camp, Mokelumne Hill, Mill Valley, and most of rural counties. The crisis has so far been averted; however, on the way home from the gym last night, I stopped at a local Safeway…and found the shelves with bottled water looking pretty bare! Therein lies the problem folks, I live in Sacramento County and it will not be affected by this shut off, yet the people who tuned in to view cable news last night missed that memo.
The general point here being, find a trusted source to get your news. The cable channels specialize in sensationalism and therefore won’t release the story until it creates the necessary drama. Sadly it had its intended result; it stirred up the natives. As a result, a lot of older and just plain naïve people were stirred into a frenzy and scared.
But hey, look at it this way, you spend $200 a month for all those channels even though you can only watch one at a time! Me on the other hand, I don’t need cable. Instead, I get to watch all of you scurry around like cockroaches because you do. That dear readers is entertainment.