Bay Area Residents, Merchants Brace for PG&E Forced Outages

Many residents and business owners in Marin County were on edge Monday after PG&E issued a warning about preparing for lengthy power outages.

PG&E says it will shut down power anytime it sees its lines posing an unacceptable fire threat this summer. The outages can last for days, and that can threaten the health of a business and those vulnerable without electricity.

In San Rafael, residents and merchants were putting together a plan.

"There is concern from the business community about how long, how can they be prepared, loss of jobs, loss of inventory," said Joanne Webster, president and CEO of the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce. "A lot of things I see on Nextdoor, which is really resonating, like what about our seniors that are housebound being taken care of; do they have the supplies that they need? Kids need refrigerated medication; will they be getting what they need?"

At San Rafael’s Le Comptoir restaurant on Fourth Street, owner Stephen Bouilled says he’d love to hear the plan on how to deal with an extended blackout

"Without power, technically speaking, we cannot open the restaurant," he said.

Bouilled says he has 14 French cheeses at his restaurant that no one else in the United States has. But they must be kept cool in his cheese cave.

"We are doing a finage, which is aging cheeses, and we need a certain temperature and a certain humidity," he said.

Fradelizio’s Ristorante in Fairfax already has a lights-out menu and a generator that kept them open for days when flooding knocked out everyone else’s power years ago.

"Most of the time people, come in for fun," said owner Paul Fradelizio. "But those are the times people need something to eat, so it’s kind of more of a service."

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