Market takes IOUs from customers as power outage downs payment system, spoils groceries – fox5sandiego.com

by: Clara Benitez

Posted: / Updated:

CAMPO, Calif. – A small mountain community east of the Golden Acorn Casino along Interstate 8 was without power on Thanksgiving Day, and they weren’t the only ones.

About 43,000 SDG&E customers were warned by the power utility about potential outages triggered by blustery Santa Ana winds and dangerous fire weather in the forecast. Thousands were without power starting early Thursday morning and the impact was being felt, including at Live Oak Springs Market in Boulevard.

The market was running on a small generator and only powering a limited number of items.

“I just prioritize ice cream machines,” owner Marioes Matthe said. “Things that can melt or spoil.”

On top of the race to save grocery items, Matthe couldn’t run payments through cards or pump gas for its customers. The small convenience store started taking IOUs from those who were unable to pay with cash.

He says he knows the majority of customers who live in the community will pay him back, as many of them rely on EBT cards for payment.

“I called AT&T and they said they are closed on the holidays,” he said, “so I could not get any technical support to help me out either.”

Shonna Sawders lives in Boulevard, down the road from Live Oak Springs, and says SDG&E gave her a 24 hours notice before the power went out.

“When the power goes off, you lose your water,” Sawders said. “You lose your stove. You lose your heat source.”

Sawders says the majority of locals get their water from a well that uses an electric pump, which she isn’t able to use. While she understands the reason for the outages, Sawders said she wishes SDG&E would provide affected communities with generators or financial assistance to purchase one.

“I spent the majority of the day getting blankets washed,” she said. “Making sure the kids have double blankets, making sure we got gallons jugs of water to flush the toilet, wash our hands wash dishes.”

The company’s outage map is available here.