SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — People living in South Bay communities from Morgan Hill to Mountain View are scrambling after being included for the first time ever on PG&E’s list of possible power shutoffs because of high fire danger.

In preparation for a sustained outage, PG&E customers bought emergency supplies of food and water and struggled to find backup generators, which were sold out at many locations.

Generator Sold Out At San Jose Store (CBS)

“I have asthma and so does my daughter. And sometimes we have episodes where we can’t breathe. So we have to plug in the machine to get our medicine and breathe at night,” said Maribel Hernandez.

Hernandez had to broaden her search for a generator after the Home Depot on Story Road in San Jose sold out.

“I am very concerned. But in the worst-case scenario, we may just have to go the emergency room if we need help,” she said.


San Jose city leaders expressed frustration with PG&E, complaining that the utility had left them in the dark without the detailed neighborhood-by-neighborhood information about outages they’d need to develop an effective emergency plan.

“It’s frustrating because we’re not getting the right information. And the information we’re getting doesn’t quite make sense to me,” said Ray Riordan, San Jose’s Director of Emergency Services.

San Jose is planning to move police and firefighters into neighborhoods without power. But some residents question if that will be enough to help countless people with medical conditions who need electricity to power breathing machines or other life-saving equipment.

“Just on my street, there’s like ten people who have dialysis and breathing machines. And they didn’t do anything,” said Mark Maxson, who bought a generator a month ago but worried about neighbors scrambling to come up with a last-minute plan themselves.