Here’s a quick follow-up to my story last week on backcountry residents who may still be unaware of SDG&E’s plan to cut power on high fire risk days. The story raised questions about whether the company has ensured that its most vulnerable residents — the elderly and those on life support devices — are prepared for potential blackouts.
There have been a few developments since last week:
The Union-Tribune reports that SDG&E will be sending care packages to 900 customers who qualify for special utility rates because medical conditions require them to use a lot of electricity. About 590 of those use devices like oxygen concentrators or monitors that have to be plugged in around the clock.
The care packages will include corded telephones that will work even if the power goes out, and solar and crank-powered radio-flashlights.
The concern of disability rights advocates, the disabled and those who care for them, though, has been that those gestures aren’t enough to protect disabled customers if the power goes out for extended periods of time.
The North County Times profiles the story of one of those residents, and also reports that the utilities company has redrawn its map of the region that would be affected by its plan. It’ll exclude the community of Valley Center and a portion of Escondido.
The newspaper also reports on efforts of the plan’s opponents to block SDG&E from implementing its shutoff plan as early as next month, before the state’s Public Utilities Commission decides on one of two alternatives that will amend or reject the company’s plan.