Pacific Gas and Electric says it could cut off power to a large swath of Northern California later this week to prevent its equipment from starting wildfires during hot, windy weather.
The utility says power could be shut off in parts of nearly 30 counties in central and Northern California starting Wednesday and through Thursday, when hot weather and strong winds are forecast.
PG&E said Monday the blackout would include parts of seven of nine San Francisco Bay Area counties. It would also affect portions of the Central Valley and the northern and central coast. The affected counties are: Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Glenn, Lake, Mariposa, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Tehama, Tuolumne, Yolo and Yuba.
San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties are not included.
A Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) is not expected in the coastal regions of San Luis Obispo & northern Santa Barara counties (Zone 6). However, farther inland strong northeasterly winds Wednesday into Thursday will increase the potential PSPS level to "Elevated" in (Zone 7). pic.twitter.com/mLE9t1Jn4k— John Lindsey (@PGE_John) October 7, 2019
Some of the most destructive blazes in California in recent years were started by PG&E power lines. Winds can knock down live wires and power poles or drive trees and other vegetation into contact with them.
While local areas are not affected, the City of Morro Bay is hosting a public workshop on how to prepare for a potential power shut-off. It is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 9, at the Morro Bay Fire Department.
Public Workshop...Discussion on how to prepare for a PG&E Public Safety Power Shut-off and @CityofMorroBay Local Hazard Mitigation Plan. When: Wednesday October 9th; Where: @MorroBayFire 715 Harbor Street; Time: 6:00. Please review attached flyer, we hope to see you! pic.twitter.com/zUp6NHnyXZ— Morro Bay Fire (@MorroBayFire) October 7, 2019
PG&E is also asking customers to prepare for potential power shut-offs by taking the following steps:
- Update their contact information at pge.com/mywildfirealerts or by calling 1-866-743-6589 during normal business hours. PG&E will use this information to alert customers through automated calls, texts, and emails, when possible, prior to, and during, a Public Safety Power Shutoff.
- Plan for medical needs like medications that require refrigeration or devices that need power.
- Identify backup charging methods for phones and keep hard copies of emergency numbers.
- Build or restock your emergency kit with flashlights, fresh batteries, first aid supplies and cash.
- Keep in mind family members who are elderly, younger children and pets. Information and tips including a safety plan checklist are available at pge.com/wildfiresafety.
- Learn more about wildfire risk and what to do before, during and after an emergency to keep your family safe at PG&E’s Safety Action Center.