Grounded and curtailed

Under normal circumstances, I’d be on an airplane right about now, travelling to the East Coast for our department’s regularly scheduled planning meeting. But since Jeffrey’s graduating from elementary school on Friday, I decided to save the company some money and stay home — which was definitely not the hardest decision I’ve had to make this week.

In a different set of normal circumstances, I’d be typing this entry on my desktop computer, either at home or at work, but we just had an announcement on the PA system saying that Almaden has been asked by PG&E to immediately reduce our electrical usage by 15%, so I turned off the desktop and am using the laptop on battery power. Since the PGE status page says there are no constraints and it’s only 84 degrees outside, I suspect this is a test.

Aha…as I was typing this, Diane called — the SVL lab is also under curtailment until 6pm, but they admitted it was a test on the PA system (maybe they said it here, too, but I sure didn’t hear them if they did). And she has an inside office, so she has no lighting (she was supposed to get a desk lamp but it hasn’t been delivered yet), so she’ll be leaving very soon!

And further aha…I talked with one of the Facilities guys here, and this is a PG&E-mandated system-wide test for companies who’ve signed up for load shedding. They decided not to say that it was a test on the PA here on the grounds that people would ignore it — probably true. At SVL, they turn off the lights centrally, so people can’t ignore it!