Well, they're back. I shot the picture at the right a few minutes ago. With no warning, PG&E shut off power to do some repair work from last night's outage.

Here's the thing. They know that I was one of the affected folks yesterday because I called twice requesting information. Why the hell didn't they call me this morning to warn me? I'd have moved my car out of my garage (the one with the electrically operated door) and onto the street before taking a shower.

Instead, all the lights died as I was getting out of the shower. The good news is that I should be able to work for a while on battery power (again). This outage is supposedly going to be 2 hours at the most. I know this not because they bothered to tell anyone, but because a neighbor shouted out the window and one of the guys yelled back "two hours at the most."

Earth to utility companies. Talk to your customers. If you know an outage is coming, tell us.

Update: The power gods are unhappy with me. It's been 2.5 hours now. The truck is still there. My little 400VA APC UPS is running out of juice and beeping at me. So I plugged it into my 500VA APC, except that it had been unplugged from the wall for a few months now. Doh!

It's a race against the clock. Luckily I'm powering small devices. But still, I think I may invest in a larger UPS soon.

Update #2: Murphy sucks. The power came back on-line just 20 minutes after the UPSes gave out. But it was just in time for lunch, so it's not all bad...

Posted by jzawodn at August 30, 2004 09:15 AM

Reader Comments
# jr said:

Well --

They're already at work. Doesn't everyone go in at precisely the same time?

on August 30, 2004 09:53 AM
# Barnaby James said:

Doesn't your garage door opener have a handle hanging down from it for opening the door manually?

Sadly, the guy who yells at you from the truck is likely also the most accurate information source on how long it's going to take...

on August 30, 2004 09:55 AM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Yes, the garage door as a "manual override" thingy.

However, I don't *need* to be at work until a 2pm meeting, so I can work from home until the restore power (I hope).

Besides, the last time I pulled one of those releases, re-attaching it was not trivial. I should get a better look at the one on this door. It's been almost 2 hours already...

on August 30, 2004 10:29 AM
# Mike said:

The question is, how much money are they going to loose by pissing you off? Since this is a transmission issue changing power companies (if you have a choice) won't make a difference. You should petition whichever state or local government regulates their monopoly to get them to force the power companies to notify you before a planned outage.

on August 30, 2004 10:31 AM
# Nicolas said:


Guarantee 9 ó Planned Interruptions - new

PG&E shall provide at least three days notice of a planned interruption in service. Failure to meet the service guarantee will result in a $30 credit to the customerís account. This guarantee will require a customer call and PG&E investigation to determine if PG&Eís commitment to notify customers 72 hours in advance of planned interruptions was missed. Customers notified of planned service interruptions 72 hours in advance may have their service interrupted on multiple occasions on the date(s).

on August 30, 2004 11:00 AM
# Dennis Pallett said:

It wasn't a planned interruption though... it was interrupted to fix whatever problems occured last night.

on August 30, 2004 12:55 PM
# jean said:

eheh electric fairy doesn't sound to like california very much!

on August 30, 2004 02:30 PM
# Al said:

My garage door is quite easy to operate manually. Just takes a bit of muscle.

on August 30, 2004 02:54 PM
# Dirk said:

"Customers? Talk to them?" :)

on September 1, 2004 06:09 AM
# Pat Mullen said:

It could be worse. My electricity and phone service goes out here in Tijuana on a regular basis. Once my hard-wired phone service went out, so I called the phone company on my cell phone to report the outage. The dispatcher told me that they didn't take service calls from a cellular connection. I would have to somehow find a regular telephone that worked and make the service request from it. (!_!)

Consider yourself fortunate. At least the utility companies in the States make an honest attempt to fix things when they break.

on September 1, 2004 09:25 PM
# jon oropeza said:

he he - I've had SDG&E (San Diego Gag and Electric) pull this kinda stuff on my office. Reminds me that I'm such a waffler when it comes to my socialist notions - on an idealistic level I want basic health care provided for everyone, but in real life I'm often smacked in the face with the evidence that when you grant any entity a monopoly, service / professionalism / customer service goes right out the window.

on September 2, 2004 03:51 PM
# Pat Mullen said:

Dear Mr. Oropeza,

As a retired SDG&E employee, I take a very dim view of any company employee jacking a customer around. I can't speak for management, and certainly do not have great influence over how the company's business is implemented. However, I would be very interested to know the particulars of what "kinda stuff" you experienced which was unprofessional with a SDG&E employee or service.

The folks at SDG&E take customer satisfaction issues seriously.

on September 3, 2004 01:44 AM
# garage door openers said:

I found a site called www.aclickawayremotes.com that has the entire Chamberlain Vs Skylink case in PDF format and in text format to read. They have other FAQs and stuff but if interested you can download the legal case in PDF.

on September 9, 2004 03:10 PM
# noname said:

Lineman can shut off the power to complete repairs to their system without giving notice if it is to complete repairs done on an emergency basis. Repairs done in an emergency may not bring all equipment up to code. After touching the equipment they are responsible to bring it up to code. Doing all the work at the same time could take 3-4 times as long during the initial outage which will cause other outages to go on with no end in sight. Utilities are fined if even a single sticker is out of place on a job. You can thank the CPUC for most of the stupid work.

on February 19, 2005 05:56 PM
# Dan said:

Guaranteed Power? Ive never known of such a thing, And if there was we as consumers probably couldnt afford it. Do you actually had any idea of what it takes to keep a distribution circuit working to keep everyones lights on from day to day? If you did you would probably be less likely to complain about the few hours you were out of power,and more likely to go outside and offer the line crew working on the system a warm cup of coffee in thanks for fixing the problem. So you can have more reliable power. You spoiled californians think that power is guaranteed its not.So just be happy about the days it doesnt go out and when it does be glad that its getting fixed.

on March 10, 2006 02:30 PM
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