North Bay restaurant scrambles after losing power earlier than expected

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Did PG&E flip the switch on Sunday’s Public Safety Power Shutoff too early? The owner of a popular Wine Country restaurant says he and his staff had to scramble after PG&E turned off their power earlier than expected.

Tips Roadside in Kenwood received a notification from PG&E that the restaurant would lose power between 4 and 6 p.m. Sunday. The staff was busy washing dishes and putting food on ice at 3 p.m. when the lights suddenly went out.

“That was really frustrating because we weren’t done getting ready, right? We thought we had at least until four o’clock and they ended up pulling the plug a lot sooner,” said chef and owner Andrew Pryfogle. “We absolutely had to scramble. We have an amazing staff, so it was kind of all hands on deck to get things done quickly, but a lot of it was in the dark.”

Pryfogle says in addition to the lost business, the latest PSPS has forced them to cancel a special event, which had already been postponed twice because of wildfires and power outages.

“The phrase ‘a new normal’ is overused for sure, but boy it sure does feel like that. It feels like this is what we have to deal with going forward,” he said. “To have this all happen in the middle of COVID is just piling on, it feels like. It’s another gut punch after another gut punch.”

It is estimated that as many as 85 percent of independent restaurants will close permanently because of the pandemic.

KCBS Radio has reached out to PG&E for an explanation of why the power was shut off early, but the utility has not yet responded.