SAN FRANCISCO – Pacific Gas and Electric Co. on Monday night announced it expects to shut off power to roughly 50,000 customers in parts of 19 counties, including thousands in the Bay Area, because of hot, dry and windy conditions later this week.
The public safety power shutoff, or PSPS, is set to begin as early as Wednesday night, the utility said in a news release.
PG&E said the PSPS could impact 3,485 customers in Alameda County, 2,032 customers in Napa County, 626 customers in Sonoma County, 536 customers in Contra Costa County, 236 customers in Santa Clara County and 49 customers in Solano County.
The North Bay mountains are already under a red flag warning, which runs through 8 a.m. Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. The same mountains and the East Bay hills will be under a fire weather watch Wednesday through Friday.
“Fuels are at near record to record dryness and will exacerbate fire weather risk from the dry weather conditions,” said NWS meteorologist Gerardo Diaz in a briefing Monday afternoon.
Windy conditions like those being forecast increase the potential for damage and hazards to its infrastructure, which could cause sparks if lines are energized, PG&E said.
Once an all-clear has been issued, crews will inspect the de-energized lines for damage. The utility said the goal is to restore power to most customers within 12 daylight hours.
The PSPS would follow one last week that affected 41,000 customers in portions of 24 counties.
Check back for updates.
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Author: Jason Green