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SLO businesses deal with days of power outages

switch power outage.JPG
Posted at 6:44 PM, Sep 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-07 01:21:54-04

The lights went out again Tuesday in part of San Luis Obispo.

It’s the third day in a row the power has gone out for the area along Madonna and Los Osos Valley roads.

“When our local businesses lose power, we understand that this can cause some real hardship,” said PG&E Communications Representative Carina Corral.

“You don't really need air conditioning in San Luis Obispo County 99 percent of the days,” said Ribline and The Switch owner Brian Appiano. “This weekend, we did.”

“We’ve been having to shut down like midday and then we end up losing a couple of hours of business because of it,” said Honey’s Pizza Chef Eddie Green.

Between power outages and air conditioning units not working or non-existent, local business owners have been through the wringer this weekend.

“We kept shutting down so often and so frequently, we ended up just not even being open,” Appiano said.

“When it gets to its peak at high noon, no one wants to sit in a hot room,” Green added.

PG&E says enhanced powerline safety setting (EPSS) devices are responsible for triggering the outages.

“These EPSS devices were installed for safety reasons,” Corral explained. “They will take power out in a tenth of a second in order to reduce a fire risk.”

Appiano says the power outages are hurting his business.

“When you don't have any internet, you have no way to run credit cards and no way to receive online orders,” Appiano said. “Just from last year, we probably did less than half the business we did just from being shut down so much.”

Meanwhile, PG&E continues to work on bringing the power back.

“We have electric restoration crews and troublemen working across our service area that are ready to respond and restore power as quickly as possible,” Corral said. “We also have additional troublemen and crews on standby and will increase staffing as needed to ensure that we're restoring power as quickly as possible.”

Tuesday’s power outage started at about 2:20 p.m.

According to PG&E, the EPSS devices shut off if they detect a wildfire risk, such as a tree limb or other objects hitting a powerline. When an outage occurs, PG&E crews check for damage by helicopter, truck, or on foot.

The company says it has seen a 73 percent reduction in ignitions on these circuits compared to the previous three-year average.