Public safety power shutoffs affect Grants Pass businesses

Pacific Power’s public safety power shutoffs stretch across parts of Grants Pass. Local businesses are worried because they cannot operate without electricity.

Posted: Jun 28, 2019 6:23 PM

GRANTS PASS, Ore. – For the Motel Del Rogue, it’s the busiest time of the year.

“Our busy season, just like everyone else in hospitality, is basically May through September,” said Motel Del Rogue owner Kevin Marr.

They’re one of many local businesses that are inside the public safety power shutoff zone. Pacific Power could shut off their electricity because of wildfire threats.

“When I saw that we were in the zone I thought ‘oh no,’” Marr said. “Let’s just hope and pray that we don’t get fires that are going to cause them to do that.”

The motel has 14 rooms and operates all 365 days of the year. Any sort of power shutoff would set the motel back financially.

"For us, it would last months because we depend on being able to put a little bit away in the summer for the slow winter months where our expenses are more than our income,” Marr said.

If this happens, the only way to get electricity is through a generator. Those can cost hundreds of dollars. It takes about 6500 watts to run enough electricity to power a household. The generator also requires extension cords so that it can be connected to different appliances, such as a fridge or microwave.

“A generator is going to provide power for you using fuel like gasoline or propane if you don’t have power from the power company,” said Ben Pearson, Fields Home Center store manager.

But Marr said the motel can’t do business without electricity. He would have to send his customers somewhere else.

"I'm not prepared to live with it,” Marr said. “But I realize I would rather have that than a fire."

Check to see if your area will be affected by the safety power shutoffs at this link: https://www.pacificpower.net/content/dam/pacific_power/doc/Education_Safety/Wildfire_Safety/Southern_OR_PDZ_Maps_All.pdf

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