The Kenwood Press
Publishers' Corner: 10/15/2019

Dancing in the dark

Alec Peters

Well, that was fun.

We’re kind of torn about PG&E’s PSPS (Public Safety Power Shutoff). Many of us were clamoring for such a de-energizing effort after the 2017 fires, but we didn’t understand exactly what it would mean. Certainly not power turned off for about 730,000 people in 30 different counties for 36 to 72 hours. Actually it seems like forever – we’ve run out of things to talk to our dogs about.

Also, we would prefer it if PG&E would not conduct any power shutoffs during our deadline week. (“What about MY needs?!”)

Indeed, we were on deadline when the world went dark, so if you are actually holding the paper in your hands on Oct. 15, it is due to a complicated effort that had many moving parts. Special thanks to Nazar Eljumaily and his EBA Engineering office in downtown Santa Rosa for letting us use their conference room, electricity, and WiFi. With all those computers and cords, it looked like Mission Control at NASA.

Our apologies for any typos – we didn’t have time to make it as “tight” as we normally do.

As of this writing on Friday, Oct. 11, we are well into day three of no power at our house in Kenwood (though they just turned it on at our office this morning). Things are going pretty well on the home front during the PSPS. Jerry the generator has kept the refrigerator/freezer going, as well as some lights and our phones and laptops. Man, Jerry sure is smelly, and loud – it scares the cats away, although they drop in to eat, of course. We have a gas cooktop, so we can boil water to make coffee, clean dishes, and do a bit of cooking.

And, we have learned how to make toast in a cast iron frying pan, which is pretty darn good, although we realized this morning that we can just plug the toaster into the extension cord powered by the generator – Doh! Well, at least we’ve learned an important survival skill that could still come in handy some day.

However, fuel is running kind of low for the generator, so we may make the next Crime Watch if we get caught siphoning gasoline.

Here’s what we miss most – warm running water (our niece Sarah), heat in the mornings (Ann’s mom who lives with us), watching some really exciting baseball playoff games (Alec), and access to crossword puzzles online (Ann).

In the next issue, we’ll take stock of the aftermath of the PSPS in our neck of the woods – economic, emotional, etc. It’s hard to believe this is a viable solution going forward. And, Jerry the generator would like PG&E to know that he is getting a little tired and needs a break.