Pacific Gas & Electric is shutting off power again to customers in Northern California, and some of those are more vulnerable than others.
It's the second-largest planned outage to prevent the utility's power lines from sparking wildfires during hot, windy weather. Nevada County is the hardest hit this time. With more than 43,000 customers affected, the blackout hits nearly the entire county.
One of those is 56-year-old Brian Terhorst of Grass Valley. These outages are a big deal for him because he says they’re “very literally about a life or death scenario."
Terhorst has a rare disease that has him totally dependent on a reliable power source to run his ventilator.
"Without my vent, I'd be unable to breath and would, well, suffocate within about an hour's time," said Terhorst.
He is just one of more than 9,000 registered medical customers with PG&E who could face life or death due to this round of blackouts.
Earlier this month he was forced to spend much of the blackout at a local hospital, but for this round of outages he's better prepared.
This time he's counting on a longer-lasting lithium battery system with solar backup that should arrive midway through the outage. In the meantime, Grass Valley's FREED Center for Independent Living is helping out.
"They are providing loaners of that exact same device that were provided by PG&E as a pilot program," said Terhorst.
While PG&E recommends people in Terhorst's case plan ahead for medical needs, there aren't many options for those unable to purchase a generator.
The company generally opens resource centers during shutoffs where people without power can charge medical devices and other electronics, but those are only open during daylight hours and may require travel.
PG&E also encourages people who rely on some medical devices to apply for their Medical Baseline Program to get discounted billing and extra notice about shut offs.
CapRadio's Emily Zentner contributed to this report.
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