Credit: Ashey Ladin | Mustang News

Olivia Peluso is an English senior and Mustang News opinion editor. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Mustang News. 

I’m sure you’ve heard about the PG&E blackouts that occurred in the last month. As of Sunday, Oct. 27, 850,000 PG&E customers were without power due to a potential wildfire threat and the ongoing Kincade fire. While San Luis Obispo county is not expected to suffer a blackout, the email sent to alleviate our stress from the Cal Poly Department of Emergency Management made sure to mention that while the threat is low, it is also still a possibility. 

I think it’s a good thing. Being without power and water is frustrating, but to potentially save homes and neighborhoods from the heartbreaking aftermath of wildfire is a worthy sacrifice. The blackouts are intended to prevent power lines from sparking wildfires in windy weather, and the blackouts are occurring only in areas with extreme wind and an extreme threat of fire. Nonetheless, in the event Cal Poly should lose power for two or three days, I urge you to not get too pissed off. 

Three showerless, powerless days are not going to be anything more than a grand ‘ol inconvenience. Losing a home, town or acres of wildlife to a fire is undoubtedly worse. The alternatives are nearly incomparable because the outage seems so minuscule in the face of true, arduous destruction. Year after year, we learn that these fires are incredibly difficult to maintain and incredibly disastrous. Why not do what you can to minimize harm?

PG&E has been found guilty of nearly two dozen different wildfires, and recently filed for bankruptcy in the face of liability charges that could reach $30 billion. Yes, perhaps the three-day outages may be superfluous, but there is one thing for certain: PG&E equipment has been directly traced back to the initiation and escalation of wildfires that have, in turn, destroyed neighborhoods and ecosystems. Whether you like it or not, PG&E is woven into the fabric of San Luis Obispo’s infrastructure. If the company fears their power and transmission lines may play a part in worsening the situation, just let them turn the power off and try to not hate your life too much. 

I do understand that businesses, especially those in the food industry, will suffer some heavy losses without refrigeration for three days. Again, I present the same rationale: the aftermath of a fire is far worse than sacrificing the contents of your fridge. When boiled down to mere dollar signs and numbers, a fire is still far worse for a local economy than three days without commerce.

Better safe than sorry.

There, I said it. 

We will be given 24-hours notice in the event of a blackout, which leaves everyone enough time to frantically buy two gallons of water and eight boxes of Cheez-Its to sustain themselves. Count your blessings! Most days, I hear students fishing for reasons to skip class and not shower. It’s not the end of the world. 

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