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PG&E is far away from the concept of a modern 'smart grid', running archaic and obsolete overground infrastructure. It is incredible that companies like Tesla are also in California when the Paradise fire, caused by a 100 year old rusty pylon failing on an inaccessible hillside, resulted in massive subsequent precautionary power outages that rendered EV's useless in recent emergency situations.





To be fair, gas powered vehicles are less effective in a power outage too since without power (or a backup generator) at the gas station, they can't refuel. Of course, you can drive your gas powered car outside of the area to refuel, but you can do the same with an EV -- during the recent PG&E scheduled outages, EV owners worked out a rotation for the EV chargers at work so they could all recharge at work while the power was out at home.

My gas powered car can go about 160 miles on half a tank of gas (which is about the average amount I have in it at any time). If I had an EV, I'd charge it overnight, so I'd have 200 - 300 miles of range in the event of a power outage.


Well, you can bring gas in far more easily than the equivalent amount of electricity... That said, scheduled outages shouldn't ever be a thing except when you're getting new in-house wiring. Anything else that can be scheduled should only cause a few seconds of power loss during the physical switchover from your line getting disconnected from the old feed-in and re-connected to the new feed-in. If this takes more than a minute, they're doing something wrong (yes, this implies stripping the cable while live and all that. Routine, and easy to contain at the voltages (<1kV) involved. Higher voltages do come up, but at least here in Germany those are redundant setups usually based on rings at the smallest (10kV) scale. The redundancy would be reduced during this, but that's just an increased failure risk, not a certain outage.)

I'm not sure you're aware of the scheduled outages I'm referring to (and why would you? You live in a country with reliable power). I'm referring to the scheduled outages where our power company decides to turn off power for entire cities and regions because they didn't invest enough money in maintaining their power grid to prevent wildfires during high winds and trees blow into the power lines.

So it leads to the case where hundreds of thousands of people have no power at home, but often a short distance away (like maybe where they work), the power is fine.


I'm aware of what PG&E is doing. Sorry if I sounded otherwise.

That said, I mentioned these things because it's a should. I'm compassionate for those in that unfortunate situation.

I don't know about how the distance scales are regarding the interactions between commuting, geography, infrastructure sections, etc. I'm partially arguing about a situation with a less voluntary shutoff on a comparable scale. A scenario with similar infrastructure availability, just larger regions with sparse/meager availability. Think of what you'd have in case of a sudden jump to 100% renewables. Existing storage doesn't suffice for 24/7 traditional load curves. Overall demand is higher than supply....

Anyways, it was more a yawning in defeat than a case of "confused pikachu". (Forgive me for the wording, and feel free to correct. I'm not trying to joke.)


They do have backup generators, and a convenient source of diesel to run them.

Some maybe, but none in near my house -- when the power is out, the gas stations close.

A coworker of mine lives in the east Bay Area hills and had power outages on two occasions for a couple of days at a time. Their Tesla worked just fine, backed by solar panels and a power wall.

If grid instability becomes a bigger problem, due to e.g. decades of corruption surrounding infrastructure maintenance, I expect household-scale battery installations to become a more popular thing.


‘Smart grid’ still uses above ground transmission that is identical. The cost of burial is 10x. In either case the smarts are on the ends of the transmission circuits not the actual mechanical construction of the circuit.

California's a big state...



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