Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E), one of the largest utilities in the United States, started its first phase of power shutoffs, affecting 513,000 customers in Northern and Central California on Wednesday.
The shutoff is aimed to curb the threat of a wildfire amid high winds in the area.
Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Solano, Sonoma, Tehama, Trinity, Yolo, and Yuba counties are affected by the shutoff, the firm said in a news release.
By 12 p.m. on Wednesday, another 234,000 PG&E customers will lose their power. The power shutoff is slated to last through most of Thursday or longer.
— PG&E (@PGE4Me) October 9, 2019
The next round will affect Alameda, Alpine, Contra Costa, Mariposa, San Joaquin, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties.
“The safety of our customers and the communities we serve is our most important responsibility, which is why PG&E has decided to turn power off to customers during this widespread, severe wind event,” said Michael Lewis, a senior vice president for the firm, said in the release. “We … appreciate the public’s patience as we do what is necessary to keep our communities safe and reduce the risk of wildfire.”
A third phase is being considered for the southeastern portion of the utility’s service area, impacting about 42,000 customers.
There is a #RedFlagWarning for most of Northern California and #FireWeatherWatch for the southernmost region of California from Wednesday morning to Thursday evening due to gusty winds and low humidity. This is #CriticalFireWeather and caution should be taken when outdoors. pic.twitter.com/a1oQdkDY4e
— CAL FIRE (@CAL_FIRE) October 8, 2019
On Tuesday, Cal Fire issued a fire warning for much of California.
“There is a #RedFlagWarning for most of Northern California and #FireWeatherWatch for the southernmost region of California from Wednesday morning to Thursday evening due to gusty winds and low humidity,” Cal Fire wrote on Twitter. “This is #CriticalFireWeather and caution should be taken when outdoors.”
PG&E customers can access a full list of counties, cities, and communities at www.pge.com/pspsupdates.
PG&E said it is opening Community Resource Centers in several locations starting on Wednesday, Oct. 9, at 8 a.m. The centers will remain open during daylight hours only.
They include restrooms, bottled water, electronic-device charging, air-conditioned seating.
A full list can be accessed here.