Pacific Gas and Electric Co. said it may cut off power to roughly 303,000 customers across 25 counties in California this week to reduce the risk of the utility’s equipment sparking a wildfire.
PG&E said a strong offshore wind early Wednesday morning and dry conditions may lead to power shutoffs for customers in the Sierra Foothills, the North Valley, North Bay and other parts of the Bay Area. Customers that could be impacted in those regions were notified Monday morning.
By Monday night, the potential Public Safety Power Shutoffs were expanded to include Santa Cruz, Santa Clara and San Mateo. Customers that could be impacted in those regions were notified Monday afternoon.
Shutoffs would begin Wednesday morning if they’re enacted. PG&E said its goal would be to return power to customers by Monday.
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“If PG&E calls the PSPS, the shutoffs will take place in phases beginning Wednesday morning through early afternoon, based on local weather conditions,” the utility said in a news release Monday night.
The shutoffs are part of PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutoff program, which is designed to reduce the threat of wildfires that could be sparked by lines brought down in gusting winds. PG&E’s equipment has been blamed for causing a series of destructive wildfires in recent years.
PG&E’s power shutoffs have drawn ire from residents, businesses and local governments. Gov. Gavin Newsom has threatened a possible state takeover of the troubled utility.