PG&E’s second PSPS in Calistoga didn’t go quite as planned, but businesses and residents rolled with the punches.
As announced in previous days, Wednesday morning at about midnight, PG&E shut the power off for a PSPS (Public Safety Power Shutoff) event as a precautionary measure to reduce wildfire risk during a forecast of severe wind event.
Power was to be restored to most of the town of Calistoga, excluding the area west of the Napa river, by about 2 a.m. Due to problems with backup generators, the city announced at 7 a.m. that PG&E was working on it. Power was being restored to most of the city by 10 a.m.
The PSPS, which impacted more than 30,000 PG&E customers and residents over several counties, was expected to last through Thursday, after which PG&E would begin turning power back on in stages.
As with the first PSPS Sept. 25, PG&E again set up a temporary cooling and telecommunications station at the Napa County Fairgrounds from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. The Calistoga Resource Center, located in a tent, can accommodate about 50 people with charging stations, and WiFi.
The city of Calistoga also offers charging stations to the public during a power shutdown, set up outside city hall and the fire station from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
With the exception of Cal Mart, which opened at 7 a.m. on backup generators, businesses in downtown Calistoga were closed early Wednesday morning.
Paul and Jennifer Crudo, owners of Bella Bakery on Lincoln Avenue, were giving out fresh pastries to passersby for free. Knowing the power would be off, the Crudos had their baking staff come in before midnight on Tuesday, expecting the power to be back on in time to open Wednesday morning. A cup was set outside for donations for the baking crew.
Residents were preparing for the planned outage on Tuesday by filling up their vehicles with gas. According to Calistoga Police Officer Samantha Arlen, who lives in Napa, people there were waiting up to an hour in line to fill up.
Arlen is familiar face mornings at Calistoga Elementary School. Both the Junior-Senior High School were open Wednesday morning, in anticipation of the power coming back on at 8 a.m. Though school staff was concerned what to do about breakfast and lunch, students were learning what happens when the power goes out, Arlen said.