Power Outages in California

I found I could determine where the power was cut off in California by checking which weather stations were not working online, Seemed pretty accurate.


yeah, that’s how I typically check the house during storms. If my weewx system(s) don’t upload to my publically facing internet site, it’s likely loss of power.

My WeeWX system used to keep on sending via APRS, before my digipeater Pi was fried. :cry:

I know when power drops to my house thanks to the network monitoring system at work. It needs a few remote hosts to test latency/availability against, and my home IPv4 and IPv6 addresses are both static. Seems like the perfect test host… :rofl:


Are power outages so regular in California / the US ?
(Just a question of interest of a European :wink: . Here, in Germany, those are realy rare.)
And how long do they last ?

They are rare in most of US. Parts of California are experiencing huge fires and that gas caused major power outages.


Without going into politics, let’s just say that California is a mis-managed state. Their power monopolies do not perform routine tree/vegetation removal from their transmission and distribution right-of-ways. Whether the reason is lack of state oversight, environmental/forestry regulations preventing them from cutting trees, or just that they are lining their pockets with profits by not doing maintenance is the big question. Before that, California had power shortages where they had to intentionally cut power (rolling blackouts) in areas to shed load from the grid. I won’t even go into their ongoing water supply problems.

Two years ago, there was a huge forest fire in California fanned by strong winds that killed a lot of people and burned entire towns into ashes. The cause of the fire was determined to be a problem with a major power transmission line, and that power monopoly went bankrupt to avoid the lawsuits.

This past week, the dry winds were setting up just like two years ago. To avoid a repeat fire, they intentionally pulled the plug on 800,000 customers until the winds die down. The irony is that areas around Silicon Valley, arguably the tech hub of the entire world, have been plunged back into the 19th century using candles and no electricity.

Our power here on the east coast is pretty stable. We had a few bad ice/snow storms hit one month about 10 years ago that caused about 75% of our region to lose power for a week from downed trees snapping wires. New York State forced our local power monopoly to develop/implement a huge plan for ongoing tree trimming along their power lines. We have seen tropical storms, blizzards, ice storms, and even a tornado or two since then, and our worst outage since they were forced to trim trees was 24 hours from worse storms.

One of the major power interconnect points for New York City and the entire northeast is located at the other end of the road that I live on. Other than a thunderstorm popping a primary fuse a few poles away from my house once and occasional cars hitting poles, our power is extremely stable…


Thanks a lot for this information.
About the big weather caused outtakes by thunderstorm or the big fire I heard in the German news but the background came a little short here. :wink:
So I was wondering, here about power stability problems in California and the US. Thank you for a direct report of the background.

Too bad they didn’t shut down Facebook and Twitter. That would have lowered everybody’s blood pressure massively for the duration.

To answer the original question, it depends. If you live in an area with overhead power and lots of trees, you might have weather related outages due to falling trees or branches or even ice storms. If your local power is underground (like mine), you might go 5 years without a power outage.

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