This week, new research affirmed we will be experiencing more 100-plus degree days in the bay area. That equals more fires, which equals more power outages, which means people are concerned about preparedness.
PG&E has warned of preemptively cutting off power on high risk fire days. That puts East Bay MUD in a bind. They need electricity to pump water uphill to neighborhood tanks to serve customers and emergency responders. Some pumping stations have backup generators, others do not.
Spokeswoman Andrea Pook said, "The PG&E outages may last for a much longer period of time than we've anticipated and planned for so we are bringing in these extra reserves of generators."
Eastbay MUD is spending $400,000 to rent 29 portable generators for prime fire season from August through November so they can keep water flowing. But they're also warning customers if they lose power, they'll have to cut back on water usage too.
The rented generators are being set up from Berkeley and Pinole to Moraga,Orinda and San Ramon.
Meanwhile, homeowners are buying up generators of their own.
At the Lowe's store in Concord, manager Tom Guzzo said "Lately we've been getting a rush on generators compared to last year in preparation for fires. With the rolling blackouts, it's been very busy in this area. "
He said they have a steady flow of customers buying small gasoline powered back-up generators, enough to keep a refrigerator or a portable AC unit running in case of an outage. Those units require 3,000 Watts and cost over $500.