Frustration Mounts as Comcast outages leave more than 100,000 customers in California Homes without service

4 mins read

Comcast internet providers and services are out because of Pacific Gas & Electric Co.’s power shutdowns. The Chronicle Monday reports that there are close to 100,000 households and 6,000 businesses without the internet.

Comcast did not directly clear up cities and towns in the Bay area that are affected but said, “the locations would align with where PG&E power cut-offs are taking place.” Services like the internet, landline, and mobile phone services are out in the meantime.

PG&E implements PSPS affecting 361,000 customers in 36 counties, including eight out of nine counties in the Bay Area, beginning Sunday morning preparing for the strongest windstorm of the year. Authorities sometimes forcing emergency power outage as a wildfire-prevention measure during highly disastrous wind conditions.

Customers should expect that power shutdowns will continue on Monday evening, as PG&E reports say. Once the wind condition is not dangerous anymore, crews will inspect power lines and further restore power in stages. People will have to wait as different geographic areas are getting different restoration times.

Ruby Ballance, an accountant who works at home living in Oakland Hills, can turn her lights on but cannot use Comcast. She said, “I couldn’t work at home today. We don’t have a phone or internet service. It’s a bad situation.” Some areas are affected by no internet services and phone lines.

Comcast provided their updates regarding the situation, and they said that the services are back only if PG&E restore power. Comcast initially relies on batteries, giving short-term backup power to its network, Joan Hammel said via email. The spokesman added that Comcast deploys generators to use backup power to do so safely after the batteries run out of power.

Joan Hammel stated that “Certain vital infrastructure, including Comcast locations that serve cell towers, use permanent backup generators when commercial power is out. However, on a wide scale of utility fire-prevention outage, it is not feasible for Comcast to install generators safely to every point in its network necessary to ensure that clients won’t lose services.”

Ruby Ballance ended up using her husband’s WeWork space so she can continue her work. She said that they don’t have any other option other than Comcast on her street, so they are trapped with the service, or the lack thereof.

The situation of having a Coronavirus pandemic makes things more difficult as people struggle on how to deal with important matters.

Ruby Balance said that “Before COVID19, I was just able to go into the office or go to Starbucks so I can work, but now she can’t do that. At least my husband has access to WeWork. I can’t imagine what it is like for people who don’t have that.”

Steven Lyons reported that he got a Comcast message on October 25, 2020, saying that the internet will likely go down during the upcoming PG&E power outage tomorrow and Monday. He said, “So this giant cable company doesn’t have power backup systems in place? WTF @comcastcares @ComcastCA.”

Comcast will provide further updates and reports regarding the outage. However, frustration mounts as people are not able to do their work.

Thomas Lake

Resident tech nerd for the SF Times.