PG&E Power Outages In the Bay Area

PG&E plans to turn off power to 600000 addresses to prevent wildfires

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo on Monday urged residents and businesses to prepare to be without electricity for as much as a week, saying the outages could affect nearly 2 million people.

The conditions that are being forecast for portions of the state "historically have led to catastrophic wildfires", the utility giant's senior meteorologist, Evan Duffey, said in the news conference.

A Pacific Gas & Electric lineman working to fix a power line in Paradise, California.

The utility had warned of the possibility of a widespread shut-off Monday, prompting residents to flock to stores for supplies as they prepared for dying cellphone batteries, automatic garages that won't work and lukewarm refrigerators.

Public anger has particularly focused on the company's apparent inability to bolster its own infrastructure against wind, and on how freakish it is that a utilities company is even allowed to just shut off power to thousands of homes.

Analysts at the Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) Wildfire Safety Operations Center monitor a wildfire in an August 5, 2019 file photo in San Francisco, California.

One utility customer represents between two and three people.

To be sure, the planned outages by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) in Northern California this week were a proactive measure meant to protect more than 800,000 residents from wildfire risks during a period of strong winds.

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An additional 234,00 customer were due to have their power cut around around noon Wednesday in the areas of Alameda, Alpine, Contra Costa, Mariposa, San Joaquin, San Mateo and Santa Clara.

The National Weather Service has issued red flag warnings and fire weather watches for areas of northern, central and southern California and "CAL FIRE firefighters are staffing up and preparing for the forecasted extreme fire weather across California", said Scott McLean, deputy chief of communications for Cal Fire. The move was part of the utility's first phase of the preventative maneuver. Transmission lines that power Humboldt County could be affected as a result of a shutdown in another county. "No one is satisfied with this, no one is happy with this", he said.

Vitale tells KTVU-TV he drove around Sonoma looking for a place to get breakfast and feels fortunate to have found coffee and pastries. The utility stated in a press release Friday, Sept. 13, that the tentative settlement covers 85% of the insurance coverage claims, together with a hearth that decimated the city of Paradise.

This planned power shutoff is the biggest coordinated blackout in California to reduce the risk of wildfires in the state, according to Bloomberg, which notes that as many as 2 million people in total could be affected by the power shutoff, based on the average size of a household in the U.S.

The utility said Wednesday it will gradually turn off electricity to almost 800,000 customers to prevent its equipment from starting wildfires during hot, windy weather.

Meanwhile, Edison International's Southern California Edison utility said it was weighing cutting power to 106,000 homes and businesses, majority in the mountains east of Los Angeles. It says it will determine a time and the specific locations later Wednesday.

It is "very possible" that some customers who are not experiencing high winds in their community will have their power shut off, PG&E said.

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