ALAMO (KPIX 5) — The threat of long-term outages is hitting places that don’t usually expect it, like in Contra Costa County, where people are just beginning to imagine what it will mean when the power goes out.
So, what will that first day without power going to be like? It turned out KPIX 5 reporter John Ramos didn’t have to wait long to find out. Just as he was getting his story assignment about a day without power, the electricity in his home went off, giving him a chance at an early experience of what a lot of people in the Bay Area may be dealing with in the next 24 hours.
Of course, the lights were not working and there was no way to cook. Ramos decided to make sure his barbecue had plenty of propane.
But there were less obvious things to contend with as well. Breakfast scraps put down the sink were clogging it up since the disposal wasn’t working. And experts advise it is important to know how to get your car out of the garage when the electric opener isn’t operational.
So, Ramos gave it a try. He pulled the rope handle hanging down, which disengages it from the opener, and then pushed on the door to open it.
Out on the streets, other people were preparing to. The gas stations were doing brisk business.
“It’s quite possible the pumps will not be usable under electric problems, so I wanted to have a full tank of gas,” said Alamo resident Doug Bereuter.
And Rosa Davis arrived at a bank ATM to pick up some cash since credit cards might not be working.
“Because, if we’re going to be out of power there’s no way to get our money,” she said.
But having cash may not mean much at places like Ha-La Sushi in Alamo. Owner Ken Ma says 12 hours without a working freezer and all his seafood will be lost.
“We are very worried, but I just heard the report from this morning,” Ma said. “What can I do? I cannot do anything now.”
Back at home, Ramos’s cordless land line phone won’t be much help because its receiver needs power and service comes from his internet provider. But NET Senior Reporter Shara Tibken said priority will be given by emergency personnel to keep cell towers operating.
“You’re going to be wanting to use your phone,” Tibken said. “So you’re going to want to have that charged up. There are power banks you can buy, like external battery chargers that you can buy really cheap.”
But for some, the problems will be of a more personal nature. In his case, Ramos suffers from sleep apnea and use a small air blower device to keep his air passages open, allowing him to sleep properly. Facing a couple of days of no power and he’s not sure what kind of condition he is going to be in.
The power came back on to his home after about an hour and a half, and it was really a good thing that it happened. Just like everyone else in affected areas, his is taking preparations more seriously now that the likelihood of an outage seems more real.