SHINGLETOWN, Calif. - Wildfire season is approaching, and to help small communities, PG&E is building a temporary micro-grid to help limit the number of customers who lose power when a public safety power shutoff happens.
“We don’t do too well when the power goes out, especially for the folks without no generators,” said Gary Burr, a longtime resident of Shingletown.
“If you have a generator you normally get by, but then it goes out for days and days, and then it gets hard to do your business and live.”
For many people in Shingletown, Reed’s Market and Deli is one of the main stores and markets in the area. When PG&E’s public safety power shutoffs hit, it forced many people to shop somewhere else.
“It makes you go to Redding to do anything, you cannot gas, and people with generators are driving to Redding to get gas is really a problem because of its 35 miles,” said David Thomas, another longtime resident of Shingletown.
“We were out six or seven days and for older people, it's tough on them, it really is.”
To combat this problem, PG&E is installing a new temporary microgrid.
“We understand these communities have been hit hard,” said Paul Moreno, a spokesperson for PG&E.
“Having part of Shingletown available, especially ones that offer services, will enable customers to live nearby, even if they're without power, to still come by and buy gas and food and make other arrangements as needed.
PG&E says, once construction on the micro-grid is complete it will be able to connect mobile generators to the site. Keeping places like gas stations, markets, and other businesses open.
If PG&E does force another public safety power shutoff, many people say the micro-grid is a much-needed solution.
“It allows people in Shingletown to get gas and supplies during these power outages, it's been a problem,” said Thomas.
PG&E says it is looking at a total of 69 temporary microgrid sites in Shasta, Tehama, Trinity, and Butte counties. Last week, the California Public Utilities Commission approved the utility company's Community Microgrid Enablement Program.
Construction for the micro-grid here in Shingletown began back in April. The utility company says the project is on track and expects to have the micro-grid complete by next month.