As PG&E continues to shut down power stations across California, the elderly and disabled have been most affected.
Cover photo courtesy of Fox KTVU.
Power company Pacific Gas & Electric has been accused of neglectful management over the past few weeks for mishandling several power stations and their electric supply. In the state of California, many residents have experienced enduring power shutoffs, affecting their ability to go through daily life as per normal. Most concerningly, elderly and disabled residents have been deeply impacted by the blackout. Numerous individuals have reported being left without power for days at a time without access to necessities such as hot water, cooked meals, and even oxygen provisions, Fox KTVU reports. There is currently great concern about the ethicality of the PG&E blackouts.
According to the KTVU report, almost 60 residents have been left in the dark because of the blackout. One of the residents affected by the power shutoff is 98-year-old Rosie Gould, an original Rosie the Riveter during World War II. Among other impacts, the elderly have been forced to manage without working elevators and generators. Gould, who was one of the first women welders at the Kaiser shipyard in 1942 and is presently a docent at the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, explained in an interview with the news outlet, "It's dangerous for one thing, not all people have flashlights..."
She claimed that though she has been through quite a lot during her lifetime, the blackout has been especially hard for her and other elderly and disabled folk. She continued, "It's been hard mentally. I just broke down yesterday. I couldn't stop crying." She lives at the Bennett House in Fairfax. This is a three-story apartment building developed for low-income and disabled seniors run by Mercy Housing. Gould and fellow senior citizens reside here, only one of the buildings in the area affected by the power cut. Gould added that she and her neighbors do not have hot water, lights, and the service of an elevator. Moreover, those who use wheelchairs have not been able to get outside or even simply go downstairs. Some have no had a warm, homecooked meal. Needless to say, residents are angry and scared.
Georgina Raynor, one of Gould's neighbors who lives on the third floor, shared, "I've been oxygen dependent. I have to rely on tanks being delivered with the power shutoff. Very frightening." Because the building does not have emergency lighting, Charles Mason, 78, has resorted to using candles - he is now down to two. He asked, "What do I do after that?" He claimed he had received two texts over the last two days promising that power would be restored, to no avail. "Nothing's happened," he affirmed. "Who's responsible?" Additionally, Vicky Carruthers, 75, gave KTVU a tour of the building with the help of a headlamp. She explained, "There are no safety or exit lights anywhere. Maybe the elevator could work so the people who are trapped upstairs who are disabled and very old can get downstairs if they need to get out. My big fear is a fire."
There is one resident with a generator - Mark Shawn Keltner, 68. He is currently using it to power a television in the community room in addition to powering medical devices and cell phones. "They're my neighbors," he said. "They're my friends. Most of them, half of them, I don't even know because they live inside their apartments. They're in wheelchairs, totally helpless without electricity." In response to the distressful situation, PG&E spokeswoman Deanna Contreras simply stated, "We are patrolling and inspecting lines, circuit by circuit. We don't have an estimated time, but we hope it will be sooner rather than later." Meanwhile, the areas of Fairfax, Mill Valley, and Woodacre are still without power. A total of 10,000 customers in Marin County continue to remain in the dark.