Power outages led to lost revenue, spoiled food and damaged infrastructure for Davis businesses
Many businesses and operations were affected by the storms that happened Jan. 26-29 in the Northern California region which caused power outages and damaged infrastructure.
PG&E spokesperson Megan McFarland explained that these were the strongest storms since 2011 and led to the number of two and three-day outage totals being the highest they’ve ever been since 2010.
McFarland described the impact the storm had on customers.
“Since midnight on Tuesday, Jan. 26, through that Saturday morning, more than 935,000 PG&E customers lost power due to heavy wind, rain and snow,” McFarland said via email. “More than 90% of customers were restored within 12 hours after the start of the outage.”
In addition to power outages, there were more than 1,330 cases of “damaged infrastructure where equipment needed to be replaced or repaired, including 365 broken poles and 1,417 spans of wire,” McFarland said.
Some Davis businesses went without power for one to three days, and could not or chose not to resume business operations, resulting in a loss of revenue, according to the Marketing Coordinator for Davis Downtown Aaron Wedra.
Wedra explained via email that the storm caused physical damage to businesses.
“The storm itself damaged many outdoor patios or otherwise caused disarray to outdoor accommodations,” Wedra said. “Canopies were thrown by the wind and some were ripped or otherwise damaged. Downtown banners and light pole flags were tangled and torn.”
One such business that was affected was Cloud Forest Cafe. In addition to throwing away a plethora of products and spending large amounts of money on dry ice to keep food cool, the cafe was unable to operate for three days and thus earned no revenue for one-tenth of the month, according to the Manager of Cloud Forest Cafe T. H. Fang.
Once it was safe, 475 electrical workers and 477-plus crews, plus thousands of PG&E employees, began restoration and assessment work, according to McFarland.
City of Davis Vice Mayor Lucas Frerichs stated via email that this storm was one of the biggest he’s seen since living in Davis for 25 years and described the damage it caused.
“I live in the central part of the city, where there are many big trees and numerous overhead power lines, there were many instances where the downed trees were tangled up with the power lines and/or utility poles,” Frerichs said.
Fang expressed gratitude for technicians who worked to restore power quickly so Cloud Forest Cafe could recommence business operations.
The city also undertook some actions to help residents, according to Frerichs, including opening two charging locations.
“Many parts of Davis were without power, in some cases, for up to three full days, after the storm,” Frerichs said. “The city opened up two publicly accessible charging locations—one for medical devices and one for other items, such as cell phones and laptops, etc.”
Residents who went “[…] without power for more than 48 hours due to a severe event […]” could be eligible for Storm Inconvenience Payments as part of the Safety Net Program, according to McFarland.
Despite the damage caused to the businesses, Wedra explained that there was no permanent damage.
“I do not believe there was any irreparable damage,” Wedra said. “Business owners seemed to take the storm and electrical outage in stride with the rest of 2020 and now 2021. ‘We will rebuild’ seems to have been the sentiment.”
Written by: Shraddha Jhingan — firstname.lastname@example.org