New rolling blackouts in parts of California were ordered Saturday night as power shortages continued because of an extreme heat wave. Pacific Gas & Electric Co. said Saturday night it was beginning to rotate power outages affecting up to 250,000 customers in Northern and Central California. San Diego Gas & Electric said it also interrupted power to some customers but had restored all service by 7 p.m.
Editor’s Note: This feature highlights water utility employees in the San Diego region working during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure a safe, reliable and plentiful water supply. The water industry is among the sectors that are classified as essential. Jeromy Langdon, Padre Dam Municipal Water District Utility Worker, is the Water Utility Hero of the Week.
Water Utility Hero of the Week: Jeromy Langdon
Job/Agency: Padre Dam Municipal Water District Utility Worker
How did you become interested in working in the water industry?
After twenty years working in masonry, I was planning on a career change and was looking for a career that was just as rewarding as my current trade but had more longevity. A good friend of mine in the water industry suggested this field and I began my research. I found it peaked my interest and I enrolled in some water classes at Palomar College. When I learned what was involved in operating and maintaining a distribution system I knew I had found the beginnings of my new career.
How has your job changed during the pandemic?
The way we work in the Field Operations Department has changed quite a bit during this pandemic. We have had to separate our crews to maintain social distancing and implement new work safety protocols. Additionally, our valve replacement program has been temporarily put on hold in order to limit water service disruptions to customers. Even with all of these changes, we have been able to continue with our daily work without any issues while maintaining essential water service to our customers.
How are you keeping safe?
I am keeping safe by limiting my exposure. During this pandemic, I have only been coming to work to complete my essential service and going home. In the workplace, we are focused on keeping safe social distance and sanitizing work stations and frequently touched surfaces.
What are you most looking forward to after the crisis ends?
I am looking forward to asking our children the question “OK kids, now where do you want to go?” I’m guessing the answer will be Disneyland.
The Water Utility Hero of the Week highlights essential work performed during the COVID-19 pandemic by employees of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies.
Democratic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday released the HEROES Act, the latest proposed relief package to address the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic challenges resulting from it. The proposal includes $1.5 billion in funding for water ratepayer assistance to help struggling households pay their water and sewer service bills.
More than 100 members of Congress, including 15 senators, are pressing the House and Senate leadership to include language in the next COVID-19 funding package prohibiting utilities from disconnecting customers who may not be able to pay their bills now or immediately after the crisis that has closed businesses and thrown millions out of work.