By Betty Yu


SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — The Marina District and Cow Hollow in San Francisco were bustling Sunday night as PG&E power shutoffs in the North Bay meant big business for many restaurants and bars.

“We were like circling around looking for parking, everybody’s coming into town,” said Margot Loren of San Rafael.

Loren and her husband Dr. Abi Gopal came straight from the airport to dine at Gamine on Union Street and they weren’t sure if they could even get inside their San Rafael home.

“We have no cell phone reception and we have smart locks, and I don’t know if it’s going to work, either we have to dismantle it or we have to jump the fence,” said Loren.

The couple tried unsuccessfully to book an Airbnb.

“I was about to select the last one that was available and in a second it was gone, and there were no more. I could not find any that would allow dogs, that would not work for me,” said Loren. “I started looking into hotels and, of course, they’re really expensive and maybe they’re even raising their rates during this time to take advantage.”

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On nearby Lombard Street, dozens of drivers were trying to take advantage of an open gas station. Wilber Hernandez says it took it him about twice as long to get to the city from San Rafael.

“It’s hard to drive, you know, because without the stop lights,” said Hernandez.

Many residents also came to San Francisco to recharge their electronic devices and vehicles.

“So I drive an electric vehicle, I came here to get some free juice, and I’ll take my power and pack it up back to Marin,” said Daniel Cohen of Novato.

The Cohen family spent the day securing oxygen tanks for their elderly grandmother.

“She’s definitely a high-risk, vulnerable person so it’s important for those who are especially without power to make sure their loved ones who have medical devices are okay,” said Sheryl Cohen of Novato.

North Bay residents who are facing another round of shutoffs on Tuesday fear this will be the new normal. About 600,000 customers are expected to be affected.

“This is third world conditions,” said Loren. “Other countries have figured out how to put the electrical under the ground, they don’t have this issue.”

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