County wide power outages fueled by climate change 


A United Markets grocery isle stands bare during Marin County’s power outage.

From Saturday, October 26 until Wednesday, Oct. 30, Marin County’s rolling hills, usually glittered with lights from million dollar homes, stood dark and lonely. 

Street lights no longer displayed bright hues of red, yellow, or green and were replaced by reflective stop signs. Nearly every shop and restaurant was closed. The refrigerator isles of local grocery stores were uninhabited by their usual pints of Ben & Jerry’s or frozen pizzas. 

High fire risks prompted this county wide power outage by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). 

PG&E filed for bankruptcy last January following the $7 billion in claims from victims of the Camp Fire in Paradise, California last year. The fire was reportedly started after a PG&E power line fell into surrounding trees. PG&E has been blamed for many other forest fires in the past, some deadly. 

This fire season, PG&E took no risks with projected forecasts of high winds coupled with hot, dry weather. 

When the power went out sometime in the afternoon of Oct. 26, Marin County waited in uncertainty for the ability to power their homes again. Daily alerts displayed on people’s phones, signaling the continuation of the outage. 

Many affected by PG&E’s decision felt as though the company may have lacked some organizational skills. 

“ It’s hard to organize a power outage. I think PG&E could have taken a lot more preventative measures to avoid this happening in the first place… If they had released suggestions about what to have in your house, just in case, or more information about why this is necessary, then I think people would have been a lot more understanding,” said Elsa Simenstad, a junior. 

The blackout’s somewhat apocalyptic effects on the community leave a frightening image of the future. The warming climate will continue to cause more natural disasters to a greater degree in later years. To protect the well-being of communities across the Pacific coast, as well as their company, PG&E will not hesitate to shut off the power again if high fire risks are predicted. 

With the possibility of future power outages, Marin is preparing for more dark times.