Thousands of PG&E customers were without power again in northern San Luis Obispo County on Friday.
Two of the major outages started shortly after 6:30 a.m., affecting a total of 2,989 customers east of Highway 101 from Creston down to Pozo.
On the west side, a power outage that began just after 9 a.m. was affecting 1,003 customers between Lake Nacimiento and Highway 46.
Both areas have been affected by multiple power outages over the past couple of weeks.
PG&E says because they're considered to be high fire-danger areas, crews must check the entire circuit for any damage that could spark a fire before power can be safely restored. That's done with crews on the ground and in helicopters. Officials say the intensive process likely means longer outages.
While PG&E has not confirmed the cause of Friday's outages, a spokesperson explained that the utility recently updated the sensitivity of its equipment in high fire-threat areas to automatically shut off power faster if the system detects a problem. For example, a bird or branch hitting an energized line.
"We have made this change in areas we serve where, if an ignition occurred, there is a higher probability that a large fire could result, driven by local topography, terrain and fuels, even when there may be little or no wind," said Mark Mesesan, PG&E representative.
He said that means people living in high fire-threat areas, like rural northern San Luis Obispo County, could experience longer and more frequent outages.
Mesesan added that PG&E is working to adjust the sensitivity of their equipment.