Powering Through the Power Shut-off

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(Sally Hogarty, Photographer)
Joe Garvey and his wife Linda (both standing center) brought their dog Barney along to Orinda’s energy center where electrical power was available during the outage.

    The city took a proactive stance during October’s power shutoff by opening a City Care/Cooling/Resource Center for residents.
    Open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Oct. 9-11 in the Community Center Room 8, the facility offered electrical power, water and a surprise supply of pastries from Peet’s Coffee.
    “I drove to Walnut Creek this morning to use the WiFi and power at Peet’s Coffee before I found out about this facility just a few blocks from our home,” says Orinda resident Rob Kline. “Having the power out is certainly inconvenient, but we’re making do and something like this really helps.
    Kline, like many in the Bay Area, was more than a little frustrated with PG&E. “This is all precipitated by PG&E’s deferred maintenance. The worst part is not knowing when power will be restored. It’s very unsettling. But for the elderly and those on a fixed income, it’s much more serious.”
    Many of Orinda’s medically fragile seniors who rely on electricity for medical equipment, as well as other seniors, were contacted by The Orinda Association’s Seniors Around Town (SAT) program. In some cases, SAT staff and drivers drove to the homes of more isolated residents to ensure their safety.
    Mayor Inga Miller found a bright spot in the outage when attending the mayor’s monthly meeting. “I was heartened to hear how many residents were prepared with five-day water supplies and other necessities. Many neighbors also checked around their neighborhood to be sure people were all right,” she says.
    The Thursday Food Trucks event and appreciative crowds attending, added a festive atmosphere to the dark downtown Oct. 10. The trucks even came early at 2 p.m. so residents could enjoy a hot meal in the afternoon as well as in the evening.

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