October 24, 2019 – People are asking: are Public Safety Power Shutoffs the new normal? After being left in the dark twice in the last two weeks, I can only assume there are many other households in the region frustrated and afraid that the answer may be yes.

As a homeowner and PG&E customer, I count myself among the disaffected. We don’t want to feel helpless in this mess. I also count myself among the growing swell of residents who are asking a different question: would our community be better off with a locally controlled power utility?

The idea of a local power utility has already been part of community dialogue for more than a year now. At the 2018 Community Choice Aggregate roundtable, residents began expressing significant interest in options to take control over our power. Now, in the midst of power shutoffs, the call to pursue alternative options is growing. On Wednesday, Nevada Irrigation District customers lined up at the  board meeting to urge District Directors to consider a bid to take over PG&E’s infrastructure across the region.

Could an expansion into the power business be a viable option for NID? This community wants to know. We see the potential for increased safety and security from wildfire threat, more reliable service, and lower utility rates. It is a promising prospect, and NID is listening. The District is holding a public workshop to explore this timely and important discussion. The workshop is scheduled for next Tuesday, October 29 from 6-8pm at the District’s main office in Grass Valley.

Let’s come together on Tuesday for the workshop so we can put our heads together and explore solutions that put power in our own hands.