Power Shutdowns in CA Amid Wildfire Fears
Pacific Gas & Electric, the largest utility in California, began shutting power off in northern California overnight Tuesday into Wednesday due to unprecedented wildfire risk.
PG&E stated that it began a Public Safety Power Shutoff ahead of a widespread, severe wind event. Phase One of the shutoff impacts some 513,000 customers in 22 counties. Phase Two will impact 234,000 customers in an additional seven counties.
A third phase was being considered in the company’s southern service area. If implemented, it would affect up to 42,000 customers.
Micheal Lewis, PG&E’s senior vice president of Electric Operations said in a statement, “The safety of our customers and the communities we serve is our most important responsibility, which is why PG&E has decided to turn the power off to customers during this widespread, severe wind event.”
The National Weather Service is forecasting ripe fire conditions for the area today and tomorrow. Dry vegetation, low humidity, and windy weather are expected with gusts in higher elevations potentially nearing 70 mph. They warn that this is “a recipe for explosive fire growth, if a fire starts.”