PG&E Says Power Outages Aren’t Going Away, Leaving California Businesses to Confront an Uncertain Future

by MR Magazine Staff

Even after the electric power returned to her family-owned shop in Kensington, Calif., Mairie Raxakoul was still feeling the impact on the business. With high winds in the forecast, PG&E had warned it would shut down power lines to prevent the risk of wildfire. She kept the doors of Raxakoul Coffee open as PG&E delayed, then delayed again, its planned outage. Meanwhile, the neighbors who normally patronize her shop were more interested in buying batteries and flashlights in the hardware store across the street than the coffee, cheeses, and ice cream in her refrigerated cases. The lights finally went dark around 11 p.m. Wednesday and stayed out for most of the next day. Raxakoul moved what perishables she could to another family store in nearby Berkeley while scrambling to find a power generator. That proved prohibitively expensive: Surge pricing lifted the cost of the only local generator she could find to $5,300, a small fortune for a small business, while generators sold online might not arrive for days. In the end, Raxakoul bought $400 worth of dry ice, but even with that purchase, the store threw out any food she thought had a chance of spoiling. Read more at Fortune.