Pacific Gas & Electric’s planned power outage last week proved to be a boon for some businesses, but a major hardship for many others.
PG&E announced on Oct. 7 that it would begin shutting off power in Santa Clara County on Oct. 10, warning customers that the outage could last up to seven days. The state’s largest utility company advised residents to stock up on emergency food and water to prepare for an extended outage.
As a result, people flocked to big box stores such as Walmart and Home Depot, clearing inventory by stocking up on items such as canned goods and generators.
The outages in Morgan Hill occurred mostly in the northern part of the city—north of East Dunne Avenue. The outage area extended west past the Sveadal community on Uvas Road, north past Coyote and east past Anderson Lake, according to PG&E’s online outage map.
Business outages were sporadic throughout the city. The Holiday Inn on Condit Road reported no outages, while Hobby Lobby and some other Cochrane Plaza businesses experienced a shutoff.
Many businesses in downtown Morgan Hill were affected by the outage, and for Craft Roots on Monterey Street, the uncertainty of when PG&E would flip the power off had a negative impact on the new restaurant.
Owner J Gaich said the business decided to close for the day on Oct. 9, yet the power didn’t go down until the following day.
“We did not want to cut our vegetables with the uncertainty of power and lose product,” he said. “As the day progressed no power was lost and we lost out on potential sales. The uncertainty was very unsettling and a lot of unnecessary stress.”
Gaich said Craft Roots purchased $500 worth of dry ice to keep its product cold for the next day. He noted that the restaurant was on the “unlucky side of downtown,” as some other downtown businesses didn’t experience an outage, making it a “very hard pill to swallow.”
“This experience has put the whole town in an unsettling mood and made local businesses suffer with lost revenue, momentum and hardships on inventory, ordering and staffing,” he said. “My main concern going forward is the protocol with future ‘weather events’ and being at the mercy of a major company. This precedent with power shutoff and uncertainty with power restoration will crush any local business, especially a restaurant.”
The Morgan Hill Caltrain Station lost power at 7:30 a.m. on Oct. 10.
In a statement, Caltrain officials said normal operations would continue.
“Caltrain apologizes to its riders for any resulting inconvenience,” the Oct. 10 statement read. “Riders traveling to Morgan Hill this evening should use ticket vending machines at their origin station as they normally would. Riders using Clipper cards will not be able to tag off at the station’s Clipper card readers. Instead, Caltrain will have staff on hand at the station with battery-operated Clipper card readers to assist passengers in tagging off.”