After the power went off in Tuolumne County, only a handful of people went to the temporary charging station off Stockton Road in Sonora set up by Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

But Thursday morning was a different story. Dozens of people flocked to charge their devices after nearly 24 hours without electricity.

"We don't want to sit around without any entertainment," said Linda Duncan, of Sonora, while charging a laptop and cell phones that she and her 6-year-old granddaughter, Zoerose, used to play games Wednesday night during the blackout.

Zoerose gave an enthusiastic "thumbs down" signal when asked what she thought about the power being out.

The charging station, located in a parking lot across the street from JS West, opened at 7:30 a.m. Thursday and was scheduled to stay open until 8 p.m.

People charged a variety of devices, mostly cell phones and laptops, in addition to e-readers, rechargeable flashlights, and oxygen tanks.

"As long as I've got a book in front of me, I'm happy," said Frank Smart, of Sonora, while charging his Kindle e-reader.

The center was set up inside a tent that had eight tables, each with a power strip that had 12 sockets.

About five to six PG&E employees were on hand, none of whom were allowed to comment to the media.

Power for the chargers, wireless Internet and an AC/heater was provided by a 20-kilowatt diesel powered generator outside of the tent.

There were also seven portable toilets outside with two handwashing stations.

Some were working on laptops and utilizing the center's wireless Internet, including David Winslow, a teacher at Sonora High School who was grading papers.

Winslow said he barbecued hamburgers on his back deck with his family Wednesday night during the blackout.

"I kind of had fun," he said, before adding that he hopes it doesn’t become a regular occurence.

Winslow's stepson, Melino Halaholo, said he played outside with other children from his neighborhood.

"About 10 minutes after I got home from school, the power went out and all the kids went out into the street," he said.

However, some people at the charging station on Thursday said they had a more difficult time.

Linda Green, of Sonora, said it was highly stressful for her because she suffers from seizures and arthritis.

Green said she lives by the city fire station and had to walk to the charging station in the morning because she doesn't have a car.

"Life is full of challenges," she said. "I'm just hoping it's resolved sooner than later."

Margie Hoskin, of East Sonora who's on an oxygen tank and uses a nebulizer every four hours that requires electricity, said she made it through the previous night with just an inhaler.

"I was worried that I was going to go to heaven," she said. "It was very, very scary. Not just for myself, but also my neighbors who have trouble moving around."

Contact Alex MacLean at amaclean@uniondemocrat.com or (209) 588-4530.



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