(TNS) — State legislators plan to push for measures to require at least 72 hours of backup power at cell towers after phone and internet service failed during widespread PG&E power outages.
Many cell towers have generators installed that can run days without refueling, but some have batteries that only last a few hours in locations where space limits or local regulations prohibit more. And in the middle of shut-offs or fire evacuations, companies can’t always access sites to install or refuel generators, cutting off service.
“That means that thousands of residents didn’t have access to emergency services or a way to know how long the power might be off,” state Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, said at a Wednesday news conference in front of a cell phone tower on El Nido Ranch Road in Orinda. In Contra Costa County at the peak of October power outages, more than 3% of cell sites were down, companies reported.
“With fires raging nearby, they didn’t even know if they had been advised or ordered to evacuate. This is unacceptable,” Glazer said.