Planning for the Power Outage

Hi all, while PG&E has been rather cagey, we’re learning more about the planned power outages and we’ll be updating this page as we get more information.

Update 10/10 3:00 PM PDT – PG&E conformed that we will NOT be affected by the outage. Yay, we have power!!!

Update 10/9 10:00 PM PDT – Power is still on at the hotel. It still may go out but if so, it should be back on by 6AM tomorrow.

Update: 10/9 4:20 PM PDT – Power should start being restored 10/10 at noon, but it may take up to a day or two to get everything back on (PG&E has to inspect all the lines before restoring power to them).

Update: 10/9 2:30 PM PDT – PG&E has stated that they are delaying the start of the power shut off till 8pm tonight. Shutoff still scheduled to end noon tomorrow the 10th.

Update: 10/9 11 AM PDT – I just spoke with the managers at the hotel and they have told me the following provisions are in place:

  • They have a backup generator and a backup drum of diesel that should last 3 days if needed.
  • There will be 1 Elevator working.
  • There will be lights in the public areas, California, and Contra Consta Ballrooms.
  • They are having battery powered lanterns sent up from San Luis Obispo and they will prioritize providing light for the 45 games room and the 3 larp rooms (Sacramento, Santa Rosa, and San Jose).
  • The AC will not be availability. Thankfully weather reports indicate this should be mild weekend (highs of 83 on Friday, otherwise cooler).
  • They estimate they will have hot water for 24 hours.
  • The room doors are battery powered, but they may not be able to issue key cards. Instead they have a single key fob per room that they will give to one person (and they will be asking to hold drivers licences when checking out the fobs). They will also have staff available to let people into rooms.
  • The hotel manifest (all the reservations) are being printed out every hour. They have backup power for their servers and terminals, but they are unsure if they will have internet access.
  • If internet access is down they will have a limited satellite uplink to Marriott Corporate for reservation information.
  • All the mobile providers have confirmed that cell towers will stay up during the outage.
  • They have additional recommendations for everyone staying at the hotel, which I’ve added to the suggestions for attendees below.
  • They will have to shut down all food service, however they are ordering extra supplies of non-perishable food that will be available.
  • Broadway plaza (1.1 miles from the Marriott) will have power and there are many food options there. The hotel will have two shuttles to help folks go there, or it’s a nice 20 minute walk.
  • The room safes are battery powered and will still be operational.
  • The Marriott cannot guarantee power for medical devices (though they will try to help us as they can) and recommend making accommodations for any refrigeration and/or power needed.

Update: 10/9 5:00 AM PDT – The hotel still has power but PG&E is predicting an outage at noon today.

Posted: 10/8 at 10:20 PM PDT

What we know

Hotel: The hotel may be affected. If so they do they have a generator that will keep limited lights on and one elevator running. They won’t be evacuating the hotel. There will likely not be wall power though so have devices changed and bring batteries.

BART: At this time BART does not anticipate any outages, although the stations themselves might be affected. As I type, PG&E and CalTrans are working to get the major tunnells onto backup generators so they can stay open.

Driving: It sounds like the Caldecott will likely remain open during the outage.

Cell Service: Cell service should be up but spotty. Text messages are ALWAYS better than calling in an emergency; text messages will get there eventually.

What we don’t know

Time and specific location of outages: PG&E says they are mostly going to go north to south, and when/where depending on the wind. Outages could start as early as midnight tonight, end time unspecified.

Events: We don’t know yet which event spaces will be accessible during the convention if the power is out.

Suggestions for Attendees

  • Very important: Update the Marriott with the names of everyone in your room. If you can do that before the power goes out, do it online. Otherwise call them (925) 934-2000 or let them know when you check in.
  • Bring spare batteries, cell phone chargers, and car chargers if you have them.
  • Bring glowsticks or flashlights (NO OPEN FLAME)
  • Fill up your gas tanks before you get to the afffected areas if possible and keep them full.
  • Let us and the hotel know if you have any medical needs that require power (refrigeration for medication, charge for ventilator, etc).
  • Bring non-perishable food.
  • Bring cash (ATMs and credit card terminals may be down). Be safe though, keep valuables in your room safes.

More Resources

Preparing for a power outage:

Sign up to get alerts: Call 1-877-9000-PGE or text “ENROLL” to 97633

20 comments to Planning for the Power Outage

  • Sonja Sisco

    Sean, thanks for the updates! Saved me from canceling outright.

    Seems like we are all clear of this issue, and can get on with the “make-believe”?

    Thanks again

  • Vylar Kaftan

    Just called. They say everything is working.

  • Vylar Kaftan

    I’m not on the concom, but I did just talk to the hotel.
    As of right now, they believe all AC will be working through the hotel. All lights appeared to stay on overnight. There’s a chance that everything may change at noon, so I’ll call back at 12:30 and see if PG&E extended the outage zone. But it sounds like everything will be up and running for the con, most likely.

  • Matt Steele

    You really don’t have to shut off the power to make my Halloween game more spooky. ;=]

    No matter what, I’m looking forward to being there. It’ll all work out. The Big Bad Community is strong and I’m sure we’ll make it work. I’m packed with water & trail mix and bars, and I’m sure other folks will pack food as welll.

    Aaaaaawoooooooo! See you tomorrow night.

  • Charles Picard

    For those of you coming in from out of town… there are a lot of conflicting reports about the planned outage. My wife’s college just sent out an update that suggested that (a.) the power might not go out at all, BUT (b.) that if it does go out, it will be out for longer than the planned 36-48 hours. Anyway… all I know is that I’ll be at the show on Friday morning… even if I have to walk. To Sean: Thank you for being a cool head in this swirl of uncertainty.

  • Vylar Kaftan

    Will there be AC in guest rooms on Thursday night? I see that “some systems may be offline for a day” and that’s the one I need to know about for planning, please. Thanks.

  • Heather Eckman

    For the food options provided will there be gluten free options? Some of us really depend upon this as an option.

    • April Padilla

      Heather, I don’t know about the food the hotel is bringing in but here’s a link I found:

      The restaurants I recognize have said they will be open. (At least 1 is at Broadway Plaza, the location Sean mentions down thread.) Door Dash & Post Mates have both said (so far) that they will be delivering.

      • Heather Eckman

        Anything all the way out on broadway is too far away from the Con for me. I really hope the Con and hotel have a focus on providing accessible foods as I know a lot of gamers who cannot eat wheat.

        • Sean Nittner

          Big Bad Con will not be providing food. The hotel will be providing gluten free options however they will be non-perishable so they may not be substantive enough to provide full meals.

          We recommend using the hotel shuttles, food delivery services, and/or bringing non-perishable food. If none of those options are viable we recommend making other accommodations.

          • Heather Eckman

            Unfortunately all of my “other accommodations would involve needing a wall plug, a refrigerator, and/or a microwave, which would not work if only rudimentary Power is available. :/ with how packed my schedule is I don’t have time to go elsewhere, and cannot afford delivery fees I’m not sure what I’m gonna do.

          • Vylar Kaftan

            Heather, ping me and I might be able to help you. I may have some things to share. (Tell me before I leave tomorrow afternoon.)

  • Julie

    Will there be hot water for the showers, & will the hotel still be running the shuttle from BART. Thanks, Sean!

  • Oscar Simmons

    Thanks for being so responsive.

  • Jory Jammz

    For those of us coming in from out of town, will either of the airports be affected? I couldn’t find information about that.
    I’m also very worried about food, since I can’t go grocery shopping beforehand, and I won’t have a car at the event. Any thoughts?

  • Oscar Simmons

    for us out of towners, what is the Caldecott

  • Christo


    Will the hotel AC be impacted? Considering that in most hotels windows don’t open, this could be very uncomfortable.

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