PG&E may pull plug on 600K+ Californians

Humboldt Bay Power Station aerial view

Humboldt Bay Power Station aerial view

As a precautionary measure to reduce wildfire risk during the forecasted severe wind event, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) confirmed that it will implement a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) in portions of 34 northern, central and coastal counties, affecting electric service for almost 800,000 customers.

The utility expects power to return to some locations starting at noon Thursday, but it could take as much as five days to restore electricity to all affected areas.

The company said in a tweet at 10:11 a.m. Tuesday that it was "currently experiencing high volume of traffic to our website & understand your frustration w/ the delay of accessing #PSPS (public safety power shutoff) related web pages".

"The power will be turned off to communities in stages, depending on local timing of severe wind conditions, beginning with counties in the northern part of the state", reads the October 8 press release.

Two years ago this week, the Tubbs Fire destroyed thousands of homes in Sonoma and Napa counties and killed 22 people.

Power company officials say that the outages will begin in the northern sections of the state, and trickle down into central and coastal sections of California.

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The orange areas are regions where PG&E may temporarily shut off power due to weather and fire risk conditions as early as midnight Wednesday.

Humboldt County will not be affected but nearby counties include Mendocino, Shasta, and Tehama.

PG&E will use this information to alert customers through automated calls, texts, and emails, when possible, prior to, and during, a Public Safety Power Shutoff. Based on the latest weather forecasts and models, PG&E anticipates the period of peak winds will occur from early Wednesday morning through midday Thursday.

Regulators have identified downed PG&E power lines as the cause of the Camp Fire in November 2018 in Paradise, the deadliest wildfire in the state's history.

In the meantime, PG&E has urged customers to enroll in PSPS alerts by zip code by calling 1-877-9000-PGE, or to sign up for text alerts by texting "ENROLL" to 97633.

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