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Thread: CA power off, again, tomorrow.

  1. #1
    resident Humboldt's Avatar
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    CA power off, again, tomorrow.

    2-4 days estimated for Humboldt County.

    At least we had more than the 10 hour notice from a few weeks ago.

    Bank was normal but left a gas station mid-escalation over a gas pump.

    Station has 2 entrances so you get cars coming into the islands from different directions.

    Forward pump of two, had a guy #1 pull in facing me and wait.

    Car behind me as I filled up.

    As the car behind me left, the front guy #1 pulled around right after the guy #2 waiting directly behind the car that just left pulled up.

    Both stressed and pissed.

    But yeah, power outages suck.

    Had power today at work (pet supplies.) But the cc processing went out for a couple of hours.

    Despite having signs on both doors and both counters saying sorry cc down, cash and check only, and being verbally told upon entering, people tried to pay with cards.

    Some said no problem, I'll run to the ATM or bank with cash.

    Others pitched a 6 year-old bitch fit. Power's "scheduled" to cut tomorrow between 6-10 PM. Should be fun.

  2. #2
    Administrator Philip's Avatar
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    I can only imagine the chaos, heh. Last extended power outage I saw was ~15 years ago in Tampa, after a hurricane some power lines went down and we were without power for 3 days.. That wasn't much fun, you get to appreciate all the conveniences you have.
    Linux is user friendly, it's just picky about its friends...
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  3. #3
    SG Enthusiast Easto's Avatar
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    My biggest complaint is how it's effecting businesses. It would also be a whole lot easier if people worked together rather than getting upset at one another. It would be a great time to show our best side rather than the other.

    I heard someone on NBR say they're expecting companies like Generac to make a big jump in sales. Retrofitting can sometimes be a pain, but they're expecting whole house generators to be offered as new home additions.

  4. #4
    Second Most EVIL YARDofSTUF's Avatar
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    Sounds like things are getting out of hand, have heard 2 stories of power company workers being attacked in CA.

    Besides traditional generators, battery units like Tesla's Powerwall, and LG's RESU line would offer a backup solution, but all would cost around 8-10k installed.

  5. #5
    Administrator Philip's Avatar
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    Those generators are overpriced, and overrated, I don't think they are rated for much continuous use and if you don't maintain them chances are they wont run when you need them...

    I'd rather buy a small portable genny, or some military surplus diesel if I need more amps to run AC. A friend of mine had nothing but trouble with a 10 kw briggs Stratton (they have a small donuts/coffee food truck). It was loud, and not rated for continuous use, their 10-year warranty didn't do much, it broke down 4 times with 400 hrs on it before he scrapped it. He paid 4.5k + repairs before he gave up on it in about a year.
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  6. #6
    SG Enthusiast Easto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Philip View Post
    Those generators are overpriced, and overrated, I don't think they are rated for much continuous use and if you don't maintain them chances are they wont run when you need them...
    I have heard that there is an unusual amount of maintenance required. And I'll bet that somehow the electric company or the city will require certification on them every couple of years. I don't think they're for everyone but if you've got the cash and live in an area susceptible to extended blackouts, it might be a good idea.

    Personally, I would like to find a portable unit that we could run when ours goes out (which is not often at all). I don't think we've ever lost power for more than 10 hours straight. But the way things are changing it might just be a good bet to get one.

    You can do the extension cord method or have your electrical panel fitted to accept the portable electricity.

  7. #7
    Assistant Admin Ken's Avatar
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    IDK, I have a 22KW that will basically run the whole house; air condition, washer, dryer, water heater, stove, oven, microwave, etc... It has a load shedding feature that will temporarily cut the air conditioner off if it is somehow overloaded. Easy to manage though, and I keep my house at 70 F, so no biggie.

    3 seconds with out power and the ATS kicks genny on and 10 seconds later she's running full bore. I have all of my electronics on UPS's so my TV doesn't even flicker

    My total cost for the genny, ATS, permits, install, start up, buried propane lines a long way- close to 150' (with a stub out for my bbq grill ), full tanks with 400 gallons, I believe, was getting close to $18,000. The genny and ATS was about $6,500, IIRC.

    Easto, yes Generac is slammed down here! I would have had to wait like 5 months for the install last year, however I had our electricians install it and Generac just came out to do the start up. They gave me a full 10 year warranty for going that route. $300 yearly fee for them to come and do yearly maintenance. I enjoy the peace of mind!


    Humby, I hope that you make it through ok!

  8. #8
    Junior Member MadDoctor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken View Post
    I have all of my electronics on UPS's so my TV doesn't even flicker
    me too.
    People will forget what you said... and people will forget what you did... but people will never forget how you made them feel.

  9. #9
    SG Enthusiast Easto's Avatar
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    Ken, I like the way you roll.

    I would love to be self-contained like that. How long would 400 gallons keep you going?

  10. #10
    resident Humboldt's Avatar
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    Back on after 42 hours.

    Scheduled to be back off at 4:30 AM for another 48+ hours.

    I get the safety thing.

    Pisses my off it appears to be because they took billions in profit and 100's of millions in bonuses without re-investing in their hardware.

    What gets me is the lines here in Humboldt are being shut down to protect people hundreds of miles away. Good, fine, all for preventing fires, glad to help.

    But why not route the f*cking lines so you can shut down the areas in danger without screwing hundreds of thousands of people because the transmission lines run through them?

    Friend of mine showed me a great shot of his 20,000 watt welding generator, with a Harley muffler. Powers his entire house and several neighbors.

  11. #11
    resident Humboldt's Avatar
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    What also pisses me off, as someone whose home and business are directly impacted by this, is the lack of WTF is going on from PGE.

    Couple weeks ago they shut us down for 30 hours.
    Went from no impact to no impact, we said no impact, to you have 10 hours before shut-off.
    Grocery stores, gas stations, hospitals, jails, traffic lights.

    People freaked out, stores were slammed and emptied.
    Fights at gas stations and over the last Costco rotisserie chicken.

    This time they gave a reasonable warning of 6-10 PM, couple days in advance. Official statement changed it to 7.

    Then 5PM.

    Then 4PM.

    Then 7.

    5

    8.

    9.

    Power off at 10:30.

    Later is better obviously, but why the lack of understanding from the people actually throwing the switches?

    Weather is variable, understood, but get a plan and stick with it.

  12. #12
    SG Enthusiast Easto's Avatar
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    I know what you're saying. We've been led to believe that it's a "Grid". Can't power be re-routed from somewhere else? I would sure like to hear what the long term plan is.

  13. #13
    Administrator Philip's Avatar
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    They'd have to modernize the infrastructure, trim trees, bury lines... That will be expensive and take years. Seems to me like PG&E has been milking the company without maintaining/upgrading the lines, now they are going bankrupt and someone else will end up stepping in to pay for all that (or rather transfer that cost to consumers).

  14. #14
    resident Humboldt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Philip View Post
    They'd have to modernize the infrastructure, trim trees, bury lines... That will be expensive and take years. Seems to me like PG&E has been milking the company without maintaining/upgrading the lines, now they are going bankrupt and someone else will end up stepping in to pay for all that (or rather transfer that cost to consumers).
    Yep.

    Went from a 200 pound beast generator with a barely functioning muffler to 3 new portables, maybe 1800w apiece.

    One for the server rack (8, only 2 essential) and online sales PC and printer.
    One for the freezers w/ thousands in raw food (dog, cat, reptile, fish).
    One for the roughly 1500 gallons of fresh and saltwater fish and corals. Couple thousand of heater watts, not counting the water pumps.
    Luckily that's 6 systems we can address one at a time.

    Massive extension cords. All generators full and extra gas.

    20 minutes into running one chained out back this morning, tweaker on a bike rode by the front window and my buddy just happened to see him head towards the generator.

    He'd stopped his bike and was checking it out from a foot away.
    Canvas bag across his shoulder about 3' long (probably bolt cutters), and a massive ring of keys in his hand with at least 50 keys.
    When my buddy (6'2 260 lean lbs) asked, "Can I help you?" the dude whipped out his phone, asked about wifi, and split.
    Could have cut the chain and been gone in a minute.

    Know of at least 6 places and one friend (over the fence at night) that had their generators ripped off. And my favorite breakfast place is closed after a really bad fire by their neighbor's generator.

    We got power back yesterday after 40 hours.
    Next one scheduled for tonight, time changed 10 times, then it got canceled.

    F**K.
    Last edited by Humboldt; 10-30-19 at 12:53 AM.

  15. #15
    resident Humboldt's Avatar
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    Of course they are, they don't give a fk and have milked it for as much as they can for as long as they can.

    I understand the safety issues as to why they're shutting power and am all for it.

    But the background as to why those issues exist is largely on them and it pisses me off.

    Just like it pisses me off that my part of the state is being shut off not to dangers to my county but to dangers of counties hundreds of miles away.
    The way the transmission lines are run makes no sense.

    Not to mention one or two biomass and/or natural gas POWER PLANTS that could feed our county's grid, but haven't yet due to logistical, technical, political, or environmental issues depending on who you get it from.

  16. #16
    Administrator Philip's Avatar
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    Humby, that would solve it for your store, for example --> https://www.ebay.com/itm/2009-mep-80...D/223720009013

  17. #17
    Assistant Admin Ken's Avatar
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    A couple of things:

    Easto,
    I am really not sure as it runs weekly checks and we use the grill. After 1 1/2 years, the tanks are still full. I doubt that we have used 20 gallons.
    Generac says about 2 gallons at half load per hour and 3.6 at full load per hour. (Gallons not pounds like the 20 lb. cylinders that people use for grills, which only has about 4.5 gallons if you are lucky as the trade in tanks only fill 80% of the 80% that is allowed in a 20 lb. tank) LPG weighs about 4.2 pounds per gallon. I have 2 tanks and am on the priority list for refills due to my medical conditions.

    If you have natural gas available or are able to put your tanks closer to genny, the initial cost would be considerably cheaper. Digging to bury the lines as far as they did at my place, made the LPG install cost higher than normal.

    Humby,
    I am sorry that you have to go through this... I have a feeling that perhaps PGE is getting revenge and 'teaching a lesson' to the people that sued them for the previous fires...

    Yes, they should be on a grid that can divert or reroute power as needed. With the population of CaliPr0nia and the dependency on electricity, the taxpayers will end up paying for upgrades with the PGE exec's laughing all of the way to the bank, like so many others have done before...

    Wishing you the best!

    P,
    That is a diesel genny and that makes for many potential problems, such as getting permits for being able to store diesel (EPA, locals, etc.). Tanks- above ground or below, size, filling when needed as it must be delivered, also diesel will spoil if stored for say a year, more or less. Additives can help, although it is a crap shoot as they can still 'gunk' up inside and cause failure when you need them. (I did some research before deciding on propane as it doesn't go bad, is clean burning and delivery isn't really a problem.)
    Natural gas is the way to go if it is available, although it takes more to equal the same btu's. Natural gas<LPG<diesel<gasoline. Considering gasoline for a stand by genny is not an option. Gasoline is only for small, portable genny's.


    Humby, (Again because you are special!!!)
    You might check into whether natural gas is available or LPG as a 2nd option. For what they paid for the small, portable (easy to steal) genny's, they probably could have bought a stand by as you don't really need an ATS (automatic transfer switch) as you could start it manually as needed, so your cost for say a 12 KW would probably be about $3000 and NG or LPG wouldn't be affected by Cali's clean air emissions laws. (As an example, LPG is used in any forklift that is used inside of a building, nothing else, that's a law...) If the cost is too high in Cali, consider that shipping cost from another state isn't as much as you would think.

    Not to mention the potential liability of refilling gasoline into a hot genny's tank... Dangerous!!

    People typically do not even try to steal stand-by gennys as they are tied in with electrical wires making them quite dangerous to tamper with. And they are quite heavy. Thieves do not want to work, if they did, they would get a job! LOL

    You might get some kudos (can I get a WOOT! ) for researching this and talking to the owners as they have a lot of $$$ tied up in inventory and the potential loss of sales due to lack of power. It is a cost of doing business and a tax write off. (plus you could get a cot and use as a home when power is cut off as you, possibly getting paid for being their on security and product care! Do I smell a giant raise in your future!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111111111111111111111)

  18. #18
    resident Humboldt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken View Post
    A couple of things:

    Easto,
    I am really not sure as it runs weekly checks and we use the grill. After 1 1/2 years, the tanks are still full. I doubt that we have used 20 gallons.
    Generac says about 2 gallons at half load per hour and 3.6 at full load per hour. (Gallons not pounds like the 20 lb. cylinders that people use for grills, which only has about 4.5 gallons if you are lucky as the trade in tanks only fill 80% of the 80% that is allowed in a 20 lb. tank) LPG weighs about 4.2 pounds per gallon. I have 2 tanks and am on the priority list for refills due to my medical conditions.

    If you have natural gas available or are able to put your tanks closer to genny, the initial cost would be considerably cheaper. Digging to bury the lines as far as they did at my place, made the LPG install cost higher than normal.

    Humby,
    I am sorry that you have to go through this... I have a feeling that perhaps PGE is getting revenge and 'teaching a lesson' to the people that sued them for the previous fires...

    Yes, they should be on a grid that can divert or reroute power as needed. With the population of CaliPr0nia and the dependency on electricity, the taxpayers will end up paying for upgrades with the PGE exec's laughing all of the way to the bank, like so many others have done before...

    Wishing you the best!

    P,
    That is a diesel genny and that makes for many potential problems, such as getting permits for being able to store diesel (EPA, locals, etc.). Tanks- above ground or below, size, filling when needed as it must be delivered, also diesel will spoil if stored for say a year, more or less. Additives can help, although it is a crap shoot as they can still 'gunk' up inside and cause failure when you need them. (I did some research before deciding on propane as it doesn't go bad, is clean burning and delivery isn't really a problem.)
    Natural gas is the way to go if it is available, although it takes more to equal the same btu's. Natural gas<LPG<diesel<gasoline. Considering gasoline for a stand by genny is not an option. Gasoline is only for small, portable genny's.


    Humby, (Again because you are special!!!)
    You might check into whether natural gas is available or LPG as a 2nd option. For what they paid for the small, portable (easy to steal) genny's, they probably could have bought a stand by as you don't really need an ATS (automatic transfer switch) as you could start it manually as needed, so your cost for say a 12 KW would probably be about $3000 and NG or LPG wouldn't be affected by Cali's clean air emissions laws. (As an example, LPG is used in any forklift that is used inside of a building, nothing else, that's a law...) If the cost is too high in Cali, consider that shipping cost from another state isn't as much as you would think.

    Not to mention the potential liability of refilling gasoline into a hot genny's tank... Dangerous!!

    People typically do not even try to steal stand-by gennys as they are tied in with electrical wires making them quite dangerous to tamper with. And they are quite heavy. Thieves do not want to work, if they did, they would get a job! LOL

    You might get some kudos (can I get a WOOT! ) for researching this and talking to the owners as they have a lot of $$$ tied up in inventory and the potential loss of sales due to lack of power. It is a cost of doing business and a tax write off. (plus you could get a cot and use as a home when power is cut off as you, possibly getting paid for being their on security and product care! Do I smell a giant raise in your future!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111111111111111111111)
    Agreed. We're looking into getting a honker for the roof with an auto-on.

  19. #19
    resident Humboldt's Avatar
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    As far as running off gas, my buddy has a decent generator that runs off gas or propane. So they stocked up on propane.

    The lines froze so badly they has no power.

    Would have to waste energy running a heater to heat the tanks or at least the lines. Easy way to explode your barn.

    My favorite breakfast place went up in flames a few days ago during the last outage.

    Didn't want the generator to get stolen so they had it behind a mesh security door. Inside. Stupid.

    It wiggled up against the wall and they're closed with about $1,000,000 in damages to their and neighboring businesses.

  20. #20
    Assistant Admin Ken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Humboldt View Post
    As far as running off gas, my buddy has a decent generator that runs off gas or propane. So they stocked up on propane.

    The lines froze so badly they has no power.

    Would have to waste energy running a heater to heat the tanks or at least the lines. Easy way to explode your barn.
    Humby, That doesn't sound right, where were they located? Antarctica?

    The boiling point for propane (propane is an LPG) is -44 F (same with C as that is when F & C are the same), so as long as it is above -45 F it will vaporize... (That is minus 45 degrees Fahrenheit or Celsius, same temp basically...) They probably had water in tank or a bad regulator, I mean physics is physics...

    IOW, either whoever first filled tank didn't properly purge it, or contaminated propane was put in it or the regular went bad, seriously...



    EDIT- tank must be properly purged the 1st time it is filled to remove water/condensate/moisture/humidity from the air that was in the tank. Fresh water freezes at 32F/0C. The lines must also be purged of air for same reason...

    Also, depending upon the area, butane is sometimes mixed in with propane. Butane has a boiling point of about 30F, so that could have been the problem. Tank could have been filled with a high mixture of butane which could allow the butane in lines to freeze. This is more common in areas that typically do not experience a lot of temps below 30F, quite possibly your area. Call the company and ask if they use butane or a propane/butane mixture... They may need to contact their supplier for an accurate answer...

    The LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) family (light hydrocarbons) consists of both propane and butane. Butane is typically cheaper than propane...

    For tanks stored outside, specifying propane is the better choice and best to ask before they fill. I hope that this helps...

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