Home News Days of terrifying darkness, cold and hunger amid PG&E’s sweeping power blackouts

Days of terrifying darkness, cold and hunger amid PG&E’s sweeping power blackouts

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OMAHA WORLD HERALD

For four nights, Eliana Rubin cared for her newborn son, James, by candlelight.

The baby, 11 weeks old, is her first. He’s colicky and wakes often, she said. As the latest Pacific Gas & Electric safety shut-off dragged on this week, she lit a flame by her bedside each time the child woke, but was careful to blow it out before falling asleep again. Even more than the dark, she worried about the near-freezing temperatures inside her home in this remote part of Northern California.

“The thing is the cold,” she said Tuesday. “I am, like, folding him under the blankets.”

Amid what was effectively the longest planned power shut-off in California, the toll of the blackout — both immediate and existential — took shape Wednesday for PG&E customers who have weathered back-to-back outages, lasting up to five days for nearly half a million people.

In Lake County, which shares a border with Napa County but lacks its wealth, that has meant fear, cold, hunger and often anger — directed at both the utility and state leaders. More than 90% of PG&E customers in this landlocked county of lonely foothills lost power beginning Saturday evening with little idea when it would flow again.

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