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Blackout Unplugs San Diego Economy

Audio

Aired 9/13/11

The San Diego region suffered about $100 million in damages during last week's regional power outage, and many insurance policies don't cover damages homeowners incur during a blackout.

— The regional blackout didn't just shut off lights, computers and televisions. The power outage effectively pulled the plug on businesses all around San Diego County.

National University System's Institute for Policy Research estimated the region lost about $70 million worth of business productivity. Just about everyone lost some perishable food, since the power was off 13 hours.

Blackout Unplugs San Diego Economy
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"Most people when they opened up their fridge come Friday morning, people looked at their milk and probably thought it was a better case to throw it away, along with some other goods that needed to be disposed of," said Erik Bruvold, president of the National University System's Institute for Policy Research. "Those are real economic losses to households."

The report puts regional food losses to homeowners and businesses at $12 to $18 million. Most homeowners policies won't cover that loss. Bruvold says the typical policy excludes coverage for loss linked to widespread power outages.

San Diego Gas and Electric has a claims process for people seeking damages. Their website explains the process, and has claim forms.

"If a blackout happens to just your property - for example, if a tree falls and knocks out your power lines - then it would, however, most likely be covered. However, on a broad blackout, the policy expressly excludes those types of blackouts from coverage," said Mark Sektnan, president of the Association of California Insurance Companies.

The trade group recommends filing a claim with San Diego Gas and Electric, because they might cover losses linked to the blackout. The main exclusions for the San Diego utility are linked to acts of God like earthquakes, fires or storms.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Greg Duch'

Greg Duch | September 12, 2011 at 6:11 p.m. ― 3 years, 3 months ago

Once again, San Diego is spared enduring any meaner effects of a true disaster. Last Thursday, was merely an inconvenience. We skated through with barely a scratch. What if the blackout HAD lasted 24 hours; 48 hours, 72 hours? --or more?
If the blackout was set in motion by one solitary incompetent technician, having an OOOPPSSS! moment; what might be possible if several, ill-intentioned,-- dare I say, terrorists, did their best to sabotage the electric power grid here or elsewhere?

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Avatar for user 'katlovesbeer'

katlovesbeer | September 13, 2011 at 1:55 p.m. ― 3 years, 3 months ago

hehe, speak for yourself...my black out did last 24 hours. i live in a small area near USD where the power was restored from 3am to 6am...just enough time to think everythign's fine...then it went out again. Food replacment is possible, but not my\y special/rare beer in the fridge that must stay at cellar temperature and (2) 15.5 gallon kegs of beer in my kegerator that MUST stay refrigerated. power didn't come back on till almost 5pm the following day. :(

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Avatar for user 'wlekas'

wlekas | September 14, 2011 at 7:24 a.m. ― 3 years, 3 months ago

I'm one of the guys who has to attach a value on events based on available data and what we "know". When I see these kind of projections I wonder where these people got what they "know". If you have freezers and refrigerators that you don't open and close all the time, the temp does not go up radically. The power was off (dark). What are you doing in the refrigerator? The stores were dark, as in closed. This all sounds horrendous but the reality is far less than the projections. The loss is probably from no one shopping (since everything is closed) for the period of time between say 4:00 PM and 10:00 PM. But then if they are partying in the dark they have to stock up the next day so it may be an net increase in spending!

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