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PG&E Power Outages Cause Problems For Low-Income Seniors

Carlos Ebert
Flickr / Creative Commons
Take care of your legs

More than 350,000 Californians remain without electricity today. The shutdowns were part of an effort by utility companies to prevent their equipment from sparking fires. Pacific Gas & Electric says more than 100,000 people remain without power here in the Bay Area.The blackouts are meant to stop power equipment from sparking wildfires. But the power outages themselves have had serious consequences. One example: an apartment complex in Marin County that was part of this week’s outage. At least 20 low-income seniors were trapped there without power.


Many of the building’s residents use wheelchairs or walkers, but their elevators stopped working. This left some people unable to leave their apartments. There was no heat, and the stoves didn’t work. Two people fell while using the stairs.


Tenant advocates say this situation is all too common for older Bay Area residents, and those with disabilities. They can’t leave their homes easily to buy emergency groceries or other supplies.


It’s a pattern we may keep seeing as the blackouts continue.

Ozzy Llinas Goodman is a freelance writer and journalist based in Berkeley. Their reporting interests include the uses and policing of public space, underground communities and solidarity economies, and other topics related to human movement, urban space, and civil rights.