Public Safety Power Shutoffs & Squirrels | The New Normal?

Thousands of customers in the Santa Cruz Mountains have been left without power for extended periods this summer with no relief in sight. 

PG&E recently installed safety triggers in an effort to reduce the risk of wild fires. Whenever anything (including squirrels) touches a line, the power automatically shuts off. While safety mechanisms like that are more important than ever with hot dry conditions lasting longer each year, residents who rely on electricity for work and healthcare are in a precarious position. 

“My power has been shut off 10 times this summer. It’s insane” said one Ben Lomond resident recently. 

Congresswoman Anna Eshoo sent a letter probing PG&E for answers. The Congresswoman conveyed the frustration her constituents have been feeling; 

“While I appreciate the utility’s long-overdue attention to wildfire prevention, safety need not necessarily come at the expense of reliability. Unexpected and days-long outages are more than an inconvenience. They pose their own health and safety risks, particularly for the elderly and those living in more isolated areas, and the current situation cannot become the new normal.”

The Santa Cruz County Supervisors are also chiming in. In a recent Sentinel guest piece, supervisors Bruce McPherson and Zach Friend wrote, “While we support efforts to improve safety, it is hard to believe this fast trip approach (and the extreme sensitivity that triggers shutoffs) is anything other than an overcorrection. Basically, PG&E is telling their customers that they can choose safety or reliable power, but not both.”

The Supervisors will formally request an investigation into the recent PG&E outages and the fast trip system at their Sept. 28 meeting. 

Squirrels have been responsible for at least four fast trigger outages this summer but regardless of the reason for the loss of power, tens of thousands of people on the Central Coast remain connected to an unreliable aging infrastructure that is only made worse by accelerating climate change. 

One solution that many area residents have turned to is solar and back up batteries. Allterra Solar is the leading integrator in the region and offers excellent quality at competitive prices. With little hope of immediate and even long term resolution, it is worth evaluating all of the options. To get a free quote for your home or business, click here


About Allterra Solar 

Founded in 2004, Allterra Solar has become the leading solar installation company throughout the Central Coast and South Bay Area. Allterra has created an award winning product and service offering that makes switching to cost effective clean energy easy for home and business owners. The company’s success has been built upon customer service and employee retention. Allterra is composed of over 40 people who are passionate about solar and the community in which they work.

Allterra is consistently voted ‘Best Solar Company’ by readers of the Santa Cruz Sentinel, Good Times, and the Monterey County Weekly. Allterra was deemed ‘Best Place to Work’ by the Monterey County Business Council and the California Air Resources Control Board distinguished the company with the 2015  ‘Cool Climate Leader’ award, an honor given to only five companies in California.