More Electricity Outages to Hit California. How to Prepare

(TNS) — The era of available electricity whenever and wherever needed is officially over in wildfire-plagued California.

Pacific Gas & Electric served stark notice of that “new normal” this past weekend when it pre-emptively shut power to tens of thousands of customers in five Northern California counties. The utility warned that it could happen again, perhaps repeatedly, this summer and fall as it seeks to avoid triggering disastrous wildfires.

The dramatic act has prompted questions and concerns: What criteria did PG&E use? Did the shutdowns prevent any fires? And what can residents do to prepare for what could be days without electricity?

California Utilities Plan for the Dry, Hot Fire ‘Season’

(TNS) — With temperatures soaring and strong winds blowing through forests across Northern California over the weekend, rural areas in the Sierra Nevada foothills plunged into darkness after Pacific Gas & Electric Co. shut off high-voltage transmission lines to avoid sparking wildfires.

The first formal deployment of its new Public Safety and Power Shutoff rules left more than 20,500 PG&E customers in portions of Butte and Yuba counties without power as 260 utility personnel conducted safety patrols, repaired electric infrastructure and inspected 800 miles of transmission and distribution lines, officials said.

Why Aren’t Cities Getting Ready for Autonomous Vehicles?

From the passenger’s perspective, ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft offer a preview of what self-driving cars are supposed to deliver. You tap the button and summon a vehicle, and it takes you to your pre-entered destination. Yes, there’s a person in there, but now you can opt for a “quiet” ride, silencing the human who just happens to be sitting in the driver’s seat.

In New York City alone, more than than 620,000 daily trips are made like this. And, from what researchers have observed, the external impacts of this surge also hint at what the autonomous future has in store. In exchange for seamless, low-cost, car-based transport, cities across the U.S. are seeing congestion worsening, public transit ridership dipping, and more vehicle-miles wearing down roads—some of the worst-case stuff that futurists predict for when hailing a robo-car is even cheaper and easier.

Readiness Survey Suggests More People Are Concerned About Disasters

In the Fourth Annual Healthcare Ready national survey on the emergency preparedness of Americans, a larger number of respondents indicated a concern that they are vulnerable to a disaster, and yet 51 percent said they didn’t have a plan for a disaster.

Of the 1,245 adults surveyed, 54 percent said they are aware that they or their families could be affected by a disaster within the next five years. That was in increase from last year’s 51 percent. The survey results were released last week.

PG&E Restructuring Plan Upped to $45B by Creditors

A group of PG&E Corp. creditors could preempt the embattled California utility’s own attempt to claw its way out of bankruptcy by presenting a restructuring plan that could be worth at least $45 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

The plan builds on a proposal floated earlier this year. The updated plan includes substantially more cash for compensating existing wildfire victims, establishing a new statewide wildfire liability fund and recapitalizing PG&E, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the details are private.

The Baltimore Cyberattack Highlights Hackers' New Tactics

Cyberattacks on local governments are on the rise -- and they’re becoming more sophisticated. The latest case in Baltimore, where the city is still struggling to restore critical networks more than three weeks after being hacked, could be a harbinger of things to come.

Already this year, at least 24 municipalities have reported ransomware attacks, including Amarillo, Texas; Augusta, Maine; Imperial County, Calif.; Garfield County, Utah; Greenville, N.C.; and Albany, N.Y. That’s on pace to surpass last year’s total of 53, according to data collected by the tech company Recorded Future.

Title Insurer First American Says App Defect May Have Exposed Customer Data

U.S. real estate title insurance company First American Financial Corp. said on Friday it had learned of a design defect in one of its production applications that had made possible unauthorized access to customer data.

The statement was sent in response to a report by security news website Krebs on Security, which said First American’s website had exposed about 885 million files dating back to 2003.

Research Finds No Improvement in Worker Outcomes When Medical Prices Increase

When the price of physician services increases relative to group health rates, injured workers report fewer problems getting the care they want but no significant improvement in physical function or speedier return to work, according to a study released Thursday by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute.

WCRI used data taken from interviews with injured workers in 14 states and claims data from 30 states to measure the impact of medical price changes, relative to prices paid by group health.

Bankruptcy Judge Approves PG&E $105 Million Assistance Fund for Wildfire Victims

PG&E Corp. may set up a $105 million housing fund for victims of 2017 and 2018 wildfires in California, which set records for devastation and were blamed on the utility’s equipment, the judge overseeing the bankruptcy of the investor-owned power producer ruled on Wednesday.

Creditors, which include wildfire victims, are fighting for funds as PG&E navigates bankruptcy stemming from the blazes and as the state plans for increasingly long and dangerous fire seasons its officials attribute to climate change.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - External News