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Placerville residents, business owners prepare as PG&E power shutoffs loom

PG&E has notified customers in El Dorado County about potential power shutoffs, expected to start Sunday morning.

PLACERVILLE, Calif. — In Placerville, people are preparing for another PG&E power shut off that may potentially leave them in the dark Sunday evening until Tuesday.

“I just recently purchased a new generator from Amazon and I’ve got it all loaded and ready to go,” said Placerville resident Kathy Ben.

Ben said all her electronics are powered up and fresh batteries are on deck prepared for possible loss of electricity.

“I’m also kind of mentally preparing because I work from home as it is, regardless of the pandemic, and so it really impacts my workload,” Ben said.

In downtown Placerville, many businesses are preparing for the shutoffs, but they are also playing it by ear on whether to close up shop or stay open in the dark.

“We may stay open without lights in the gallery, and we won’t be able to use our credit card machines, so everyone would have to pay cash,” said Joyce Auteri with Gallery Art Studio 360.

Auteri said, although PG&E claims the shutoffs are for safety, it's frustrating for businesses to have the lights switch off due to the high winds.

“It will absolutely hurt a lot of businesses here in town that can’t operate without power,” Auteri said.

For Kaitlyn Keyt who owns three businesses downtown, one being a restaurant, opening without power isn't an option.

"A [sufficient] generator can run $15,000 to $20,000, so we don’t have one,” Keyt said.

That means all of the restaurant's refrigerated food items will go to waste -- yet another financial hit in 2020 for a business that just opened in 2019.

“So we have to do a lot of preparing and trying to save food. Throwing foods out there’s a huge loss, not counting the [loss of] business from that day,” Keyt said.

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