Fred Ward, a loyal Surfnet customer and a proud resident of the Santa Cruz Mountains, recently found himself in the midst of a harrowing five-day ordeal after being snowed in at his home off of Skyline and Highway 9. The snowstorm, which began on Thursday, February 23, 2023, dumped over a foot of snow and caused widespread power outages in the area.
Reflecting on his experience, Ward shared, “I’ve lived up here for 40 years, and I’ve only seen it snow this much a handful of times.”
According to PG&E, the snowstorm took out thousands of trees, tens of thousands of branches, and around 500 power poles. For Ward, the lack of electricity meant relying on a generator to power his home.
“I used approximately 35 gallons of gasoline, I think, for my generator,” Ward revealed. “I had to keep it running to keep the pipes from freezing and to have some light and heat. It was a real challenge, but I was lucky to have a generator.”
With temperatures near or below freezing each day, Ward had to find ways to stay warm. He burned nearly a cord of wood in his free-standing fireplace to keep himself and his home warm. “It was miserable,” he said.
With roads closed, it was impossible for Ward to leave his property, even with chains on his 4×4 truck! “To make matters worse, a second snowfall of 4 inches followed a day after the initial 12 inches, further hampering any attempts to clear the roads,” Ward recounted.
Ward was proud to report that Surfnet’s tower, located on his property, survived the snowstorm unscathed. “Surfnet’s tower stood tall and proud despite the harsh weather conditions, Ward shared, “It was a relief to know that their service was still up and running.”
Amid the chaos and isolation, Ward was grateful to have internet access, which he credited to Surfnet. “I was able to stay connected with the outside world and communicate with my neighbors,” he said. Surfnet’s batteries managed to hold on for an impressive six and a half days, ensuring uninterrupted service for Ward and his fellow Surfnet customers. With the help of his trusty generator, Ward was able to recharge the batteries and keep the service going strong. “I could charge the batteries easily with my generator,” he said.
Following the devastating CZU fires, PG&E worked tirelessly to replace power poles in the area. This would often leave Surfnet’s tower with no power for up to 8 hours, with no choice but to rely on batteries. However, this seemingly daunting situation presented a valuable opportunity for Surfnet to observe and learn from the effects of power loss on their batteries. With this knowledge in hand, they wasted no time in upgrading the batteries on Fred Ward’s property, ensuring a more reliable and robust power source for their valued customers.
The reliability of Surfnet’s tower during such a severe storm serves as a testament to the company’s commitment to providing high-quality internet service to its customers, even in the most challenging circumstances. “I’m grateful to have a provider like Surfnet that is committed to keeping their customers connected no matter what,” Ward added.
With a sense of immense relief, Ward shared that on Saturday, March 4, 2023, at 2:30 p.m., the power had finally been restored.
by Aracelly Bibl