PG&E pushes forward with public safety power shutoff

SAN FRANCISCO – Pacific Gas and Electric Co. will shut off power to 37,000 customers, including 4,200 in the Bay Area, starting Wednesday night because of dry and windy conditions that could help spark new wildfires, the utility said.

The public safety power shutoff, or PSPS, will begin at 8 p.m. and ultimately affect customers in parts of Alameda, Butte, Colusa, Contra Costa, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Napa, Plumas, Santa Clara, Shasta, Sonoma, Tehama, Trinity and Yolo counties, the utility said in a news release.

PG&E had initially anticipated shutting off power to 54,000 customers in parts of 19 counties, but the scope was scaled back because of changes in the weather forecast.

The utility said it will open 21 community resource centers for customers impacted by the PSPS. The centers will provide ADA-accessible restrooms, hand-washing stations, medical equipment charging, WiFi, bottled water and nonperishable snacks. On Wednesday, the centers will be open from 7 to 10 p.m. and from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. until the PSPS ends.

Dry and windy conditions like those being forecast increase the potential for damage and hazards to PG&E’s infrastructure, which could cause sparks if lines are energized, according to the utility.

Once an all-clear has been issued, crews will inspect the de-energized lines for damage. PG&E said the goal is to restore power to most customers within 12 daylight hours.

The PSPS follows one last week that affected 41,000 customers in parts of 24 counties.

Check back for updates.

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Author: Jason Green

EastBayTimes