East Bay spared in latest round of PG&E power outages

Tuesday morning, eight Bay Area counties were facing power shut offs. That was devastating news for the Europa Hofbrau in Contra Costa County and many other small businesses.

Harry Boukis, co-owner of Orinda's popular Hofbrau, says a third power shutoff could kill his business.

"Twice now, twice, I've had to throw away $5,000 worth of food. In God's name. In God's name, you are gonna shut me down during Thanksgiving week?" said Mr. Boukis.

The Europa also sells food for home parties and dinners.

"We have reservations, next week, for 60 turkeys for customers. I'm gonna call 60 people up and ruin their Thanksgiving? In the name of God, I can't do that," said Boukis.

Some hours later, we were glad to return to the Europa to give the Henry and George Boukis the just-in good news: Only Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties are to be shut off.

"God bless America, but what we said, what I said about what Gavin (Gov. Newsom) needs to do is protect the small businessman," said Boukis.
In a related Bay Area matter, PG&E says about 3,400 customers are so-called medical baseline customers who depend on electrical devices to treat their medical conditions. Without power, that can be dangerous and life threatening.

"What do we do if something happens? My elderly neighbor had to move out of the area, had go to a hotel because his wife is on oxygen and she's got Alzheimer's, It's just, just not right," said Contra Costa resident Renee Schultz. 

PG&E says it contacts each and every such household by text, email, telephone and, if necessary, in person to warn them of impending shutoffs. But, Contra Costa County's Health Officer says PG&E's count of those dependent on electric power is understated.

"There's many people with medical equipment that's electrically powered, that have not signed up with PG&E so it underestimates the total number of people with medical equipment," said Contra Costa Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano.

And so, the county had taken on contacting all of it medical machine users, whether PG&E medical baseline or not.

"Because this happening so often, we work year round to inform our clients, help them make a plan in advance," said Dr. Farnitano. That still leaves more than 1,500, probably many more Bay Area medical equipment dependees in the dark.