Wednesday, October 9, 2019

50 Things That Aren't Working With the Power Out

Today was day one of the massive power outage in northern California.  On the one hand, it looks like many people either weren't informed or didn't pay attention when told ahead of time about the upcoming power outage.  On the other hand, this is a good reminder to everyone about what works (not many things) and more importantly, what doesn't work, when the power is out.  Here are 50 things that aren't working according to people in the northern California area when asked about the outage:

  1. Gas stations (some have generators, others have closed down because they don't)
  2. Charging stations (for Teslas, for power wheel chairs, etc)
  3. House power used to charge medical devices (CPAP machines, portable oxygen systems, etc)
  4. ATM machines (have cash on hand for emergency purchases of food, medication, water, etc)
  5. Stores (most don't have generators, some are allowing people to shop in the dark if they can pay cash for their purchases, cash registers don't work so paper addition it is)
  6. Pharmacies (these may not have power for a week or more so having a plan to stock/get medication is necessary)
  7. Home security systems, home security lighting
  8. Water to homes (unless water is provided by a gravity system; wells with electric pumps and other power-assisted systems aren't working)
  9. Water purification systems (residents were told to boil water that came out of the faucets because it could be contaminated)
  10. Toilets (toilets are non-electric, usually, but if there is no water, toilets can still be flushed using other waste water like from washing dishes)
  11. Hot water heaters (on demand hot water systems won't work, electric hot water tanks won't work, some gas hot water heaters will work and some won't depending on the type of pilot light it has)
  12. Internet (no power, no modem, no Netflix, no YouTube, no online anything)
  13. Cell service (either because of dead phone batteries or cell towers with no power)
  14. Schools are closed down (creating a daycare emergency)
  15. Dentists offices (people with dental emergencies need to go further to find an open office)
  16. Hospitals (they have generators but some are starting to divert patients to other areas not impacted by the power outage)
  17. Home appliances (gas stoves still work if you light them with a match, refrigerators and freezers will become useless if the outage continues, microwaves won't work)
  18. Refrigeration for insulin and other medications that require refrigeration are a top concern
  19. Small home appliances (a reminder to keep a manual can opener on hand and have a plan to make coffee when your electric coffee maker won't function)
  20. Home lighting (candles, lanterns, flashlights, and batteries were flying off the shelves of local stores)
  21. Commercial refrigeration (which will soon be a problem for restaurants and grocery stores)
  22. Street lights and traffic signal lights (there have been many car accidents reported in areas without power)
  23. Small businesses (they generally don't have back-up generators)
  24. Public transit which relies on electricity (BART is reported to be having problems with some of their buses and trains due to the power outage)
  25. Elevators and escalators
  26. The website for the power company (PGE's site has been down all day)
  27. Jobs (many workers were sent home if their workplace had no power; for many of these people that meant no pay for the hours/days missed)
  28. Any entertainment options that require power (phones, tablets, computers, gaming systems, etc)
  29. Heating, fans, and air conditioning systems in homes
  30. The airport (San Jose airport is putting their emergency plan in place in case the blackout affects them)
  31. Aquariums (both aquariums in people's homes as well as outdoor pond pumps)
  32. Swimming pool pumps
  33. Law and order (PGE offices were barricaded by police to keep out angry customers, one PGE worker was shot at; some areas have declared curfews to reduce the possibility of crime)
  34. Parks (many national parks in the outage area were closed down)
  35. Zoo (the Oakland Zoo was closed due to the power outage)
  36. Roadway tunnels were closed, including the Caldecott Tunnel and Devil's Slide Tunnel on Hwy 1
  37. TV and radio only work if they are battery-powered or connected to a generator
  38. Electric garage door openers won't work (know how to open your garage door manually)
  39. Generators were either sold out, out of fuel, or people were being warned not to electrocute themselves and/or cause a carbon monoxide poisoning event when using them
  40. Ice, water, groceries, and propane tanks for backyard grills were also sold out at many stores in the outage areas
  41. There is concern that some fire hydrants wouldn't work when needed
  42. 911 dispatch centers were asking people not to call unless it was truly a life or death emergency in order to keep the phone lines open
  43. All first responders (fire fighters and police) were being mobilized to respond to fire or other public safety incidents
  44. Washers and dryers won't work without power so an extended power outage may mean doing laundry by hand
  45. Sewer and septic systems may or may not work depending on if they require power to operate
  46. Many non-critical government offices in the outage areas were closed so things like getting permits were impacted
  47. Some restaurants and coffee shops closed, some remained open; some were cash-only, some were operating in the dark
  48. The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory was closed down due to the power outage
  49. People were being urged to unplug all appliances so they won't be damaged when the power surged back on
  50. Many people were worried about having to throw out spoiled food; an expensive but better option than getting food poisoning

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