We received a call today from a homeowner in California.
Here's the question he asked: Why did my generator not work after the earthquake?
Not surprisingly, it was a natural gas generator.
He told us that after the earthquake the power was cut-off and his generator failed.
It turns out he had a seismic natural gas shut-off valve. It is designed to detect ground movement which would cause the gas supply to be shut off immediately.
When this happens, pressure-testing is required by law before the gas company can restore gas service. It may take days, weeks, or even months. He was not happy at all.
And it's only going to get worse.
California is spending more than $16 million to install thousands of quake-detecting sensors statewide that officials say will give utilities precious seconds to shut down before the shaking starts. There is no telling how long it will take the utility company to test for leaks and restore the fuel supply next time.
Natural gas powers over 35% of the power generating stations nationwide. That's a real eye-opener.