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Mass California Outage Raises Questions About Emergency Fuel Supply


Two SCL Fueling Stations Offer Fully Functioning Backups to Maintain Reliability

After nearly 800,000 California businesses and residents experienced up to five days without power due to a voluntary shutdown by Pacific Gas & Electric, utilities have now been almost completely restored throughout the state’s northernmost reaches to the Silicon Valley.

The outage, which came in response to the high winds and dry conditions ripe for wildfires, has been attributed to the $30 billion in liabilities PG&E is currently facing after downed equipment caused wildfires in 2017 and 2018.

Controversy surrounding the decision remains, especially in light of short notices and a failure in communication to customers. Those questions notwithstanding, however, the mass PG&E outage raises another important issue — how are residents, first responders, and businesses expected to get gas when their fuel providers are without power?

An SCL Investment for Emergencies

Short of keeping gasoline on hand, it’s essential that all customers know what fueling stations have backup power sources. Without fully functioning generators, it’s impossible for anyone to fuel vehicles or keep businesses running smoothly, regardless of whether tanks at local stations are fully stocked.

In 2016, SCL invested over $100,000 to ensure Vista and San Marcos fueling stations are fully functioning in the event of emergencies. Providing two fully operational fueling options for North San Diego and all of San Diego County helps to ensure commercial and retail operators, as well as the general public, always have access to fuel — regardless of the situation.

“We can’t control what our state’s utility providers do in the face of wildfire threats or the threat of other natural disasters, and we certainly can’t control the occurrence of natural disasters themselves,” said SCL General Manager Travis Becktel. “What we can control is the level of reliability that we provide to our customers. Regardless of whether that means letting go of some of our profits, it’s important for us as a company to be there when our first responders and customers need us most.”

Maintaining Reliability for Southern California Customers

SCL currently has partnerships with several local municipalities that utilize the Vista and San Marcos locations. Allowing them to continue operating and responding to any and all emergencies, Becktel said, could quite literally mean the difference between life and death to affected residents.

The investment by SCL is especially crucial as the Santa Ana winds continue to move south, bringing the same concerns and ideal wildfire conditions to southern California. When PG&E announced its decision to shut off power in the north just one day prior to the outages, officials at Southern California Edison stated they were also considering the same preventative measures in some areas.

As many as 173,000 customers in nine Southern California counties could be affected with temporary outages in the near future, Southern California Edison officials told the Los Angeles Times.

“When and if there is an issue, we will be here — open and available to service the needs of our customers, and possibly the general public, with our emergency generator resources,” Becktel said. “These systems have been stress tested to maximum capacity, which means we can be a constant to our customers regardless of the circumstances.”

Contact an SCL Consultant Today

In a wide range of industrial sectors, if there’s metal touching metal, oil is involved. At SCL, we’re here to protect and optimize the machines that keep our country moving and we pride ourselves on providing superior logistics and solutions, extensive product and industry knowledge and total performance satisfaction for our customers. As a safety precaution we highly encourage our partners to periodically re-evaluate their emergency response and contingency plans in the event of a natural disaster or power outage. For more information on how to access your emergency response plans, contact an SCL consultant today.

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