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Power outages becoming increasingly common and disruptive in SLO

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Posted at 8:45 PM, Sep 16, 2022

The same area of San Luis Obispo has seen a series of power outages in recent weeks.

People who live and work along Los Osos Valley Road say that power outages are becoming frustratingly common, and disruptive.

Two power outages left thousands without power on the south end of San Luis Obispo Friday afternoon, disrupting business and everyday life.

“As employees when the power goes out, we don’t get our tips. Everything in the shop is harder to do and for the business owners, they have all the food-- all the produce that goes bad,” said Nautical Bean Employee Blaine Phillips.

The outages forced Nautical Bean to close up shop early on Friday afternoon.

“We still have to continue working with the power out,” said Phillips. “It’s just frustrating because you never know if it’s gonna go out or not and it’s always kind of in the back of your mind.”

Employees say that the series of outages have led to a loss of revenue, and is disruptive for both customers and those working behind the counter.

“We have to stop taking orders from all customers, lock the doors so we can’t take any more customers in, and then get ready to close, but then it might come back on-- so we could go back open,” explained Phillips.

The outages are also affecting surrounding neighborhoods.

“It’s frustrating-- the power outages-- they don’t last very long, fortunately,” said San Luis Obispo Resident Regis Weber.

According to PG&E, the outages are part of the company's Enhanced Power Safety Settings. It’s a system that automatically triggers an outage when a fire threat is detected.

“On Labor Day, there were three of them in one day and today there’s been two—so it’s unprecedented,” said Weber. “I don’t know where we’re going forward from here.”

Some residents say they are taking the outages in stride and using it as an opportunity to get out of the house.

“Actually, what it does is it gets me off my couch and makes me go across town like I did today-- I had lunch somewhere else,” added Weber.

For other businesses, the outages are disruptive, but far from crippling.

Grocery Outlet switched to cash only and was down to one register.

The 99 Cent Store and CVS Pharmacy closed for the duration of the outage.

So far, none of the outages have been long enough to spoil refrigerated products.

PG&E says it is looking at the circuit to see if they can cut down on or stop these repeated outages.

The utility says that the safety settings have led to an 80 percent reduction in fire starts caused by company equipment.