By DENNIS WYATT
There are three opportunities on the horizon to hear more about PG&E’s plans to cut power for two to five days to most of San Joaquin County — including Manteca, Lathrop, Tracy, Stockton, parts of Ripon and surrounding rural areas — when severe wildfire conditions exist in specific areas served by the transmission line.
And judging by a gathering designed specifically for Del Webb at Woodbridge residents on Monday, July 15, at 11:30 a.m. at the community clubhouse, interest is running high.
Organizers created a sign-up list that filled quickly and now includes a wait list of at least 70 Del Webb residents that can’t be accommodated in the meeting room.
In attendance will be San Joaquin County Supervisor Tom Patti as well as representatives from PG&E, Manteca Fire Department, local law enforcement, and the San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services.
Patti, along with fellow Supervisor Larry Elliott, have also arranged for two neighborhood town hall meetings regarding the PG&E shutoffs. The first is on Tuesday, July 16, at 5:30 p.m. at the Manteca Transit Center, 220 Moffat Blvd., in Manteca. The other is Wednesday, July 17, at 6 p.m. at the Lathrop Community Center, 15557 Fifth St., Lathrop.
Fire and police personnel as well as PG&E and San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services representatives will be in attendance.
The No. 1 point local officials are trying to drive home is simple — residents should be prepared to be self-sufficient in the event of a power shutoff that will last from two to five days.
Expanding on that point the city is making it clear they will not provide food of bottled water in the event of a power shutoff. At the same time, a power shutoff would mean most schools and businesses will be closed. Gas stations will be non-functional.
The de-energizing of the transmission line would black out not just Manteca but Tracy, Lathrop, Stockton, Escalon, Oakdale, and most of Ripon as well as other communities. Modesto Irrigation District, that delivers power to Modesto and parts of Ripon might not be impacted. At any case, people in Manteca and nearby communities may not have close options for securing food and water or gasoline.
The emergency situation created by PG&E is not the doing of any city or the county. Instead local governments are making sure public health and safety issues are addressed.
The city has indicated that you can expect:
uTraffic lights and street lights will not be working.
uMost schools and businesses will be closed.
uDue to increased call volume emergency services will have longer response times.
uWater and sewer services will be functional but at a reduced level. Citizens will be asked to refrain from non-essential water use.
uExtended outages may affect cell phones.
uCitizens with critical medical or health issues will be directed to a designated shelter site.
uCitizens can expect essential services such as Fire Department, Police Department, and Public Works to continue operating with as little disruption as possible.
uThe Manteca Senior Center is a designated shelter site. Efforts are currently underway to update the facility’s emergency power source.
uManteca has a dedicated Emergency Operations Center. When activated it is capable of managing large scale disasters such as prolonged power shortages.
uPublic safety and sanitary utility services will be a top priority.
uStaff is assessing private contracts for generators and diesel delivery for city facilities.
uWhen notified of an impending PG&E power shutoff the city will notify citizens on social media and Nixel.
uAll essential city employees and all firefighters and police officers will be called back to work.
uGenerators will be set up at the Manteca Senior Center to charge essential life safety electronics.
uThe need to impose curfews will be evaluated.
uMutual aid from unaffected areas will be utilized.
uOutages in larger regional areas will increasingly strain city resources.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org