California in need of more back up generators to power cell phone towers in fire-affected areas

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SACRAMENTO (KRON) – The state now has a shortage of generators needed to keep the power running on cell phone towers, especially in fire-affected areas.

While fires torch parts of Northern and Southern California, the state is in need of backup generators to help power cell phone towers.

“The longer the power is out, the more sites are impacted, the need for generators increases, and then the generator needs begins to compete with communications like water and sewer, a school, or a grocery store,” Budge Currier, State 911 Manager, said.

Emergency officials say the state has requested 500 extra generators from vendors. 

Cal OES has even launched a generator task force to deal with the issue.

“It’s really looking at 24, 48, 72 hours out, what are these needs going to be and how to do we put things in place to meet what we know is coming,” Currier said.

The shortage of power supply comes after PG&E imposed multiple rounds of massive power shutoffs, forcing the state to deploy generators to the blacked-out areas.

But now with fires burning, cell towers down, and generators already in use or spent, the state is now scrambling for more.

“There are limitations on how long those generators can run on this temporary mode, and more importantly than that, there’s physical limitations on those generators to run two weeks straight with no maintenance,” Currier said.

Northern California Lawmaker Mike McGuire is already proposing a state law to require cell phone companies to have backup systems for their cell towers.

Emergency operations officials say while cell service is down in some parts of the state, there aren’t any public safety communication outages through land and radio.

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