Monday, October 14, 2019

not at home

Having spent precisely the right days up in Oregon, we missed California's Great PG&E Blackout. The power was going out as we drove north, but though I'd studied the map (from a newspaper website: PG&E's own was consistently unavailable), it was hard to tell from the freeway whether the power in neighboring areas was out or not, though I thought I spotted a working traffic light in a place that was supposed to be dark by then. The only effect I noticed was that a couple of rest areas in blacked-out areas were closed, though the DOT had listed them as open the day before. We stopped and had lunch in a town that the map said would be unaffected. And the blacked-out areas didn't quite reach to our house, so there was no need to discard all the contents of our refrigerator when we came home.

So this didn't affect us much, but it sure irritated a lot of other people. The prospect of going through this clumsy and disorganized thing regularly is not an appealing alternative, even to rampaging fires, but I think I know why PG&E did it. It's passive-aggressive behavior. Stung by being (justifiably) blamed for their equipment causing previous years' fires, and being unable or unwilling to correct the actual problems, they're exaggeratingly avoiding risking fires by taking the most complicated and disruptive method possible.

This is the sort of behavior which nationalization was invented to correct.

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