800K Californians brace for mass power outage


Bankrupt utility owner PG&E issued an unprecedented warning to cut power in nearly 30 California counties as hot and windy conditions leave the state at risk of wildfires.

"The safety of our customers and the communities we serve is our most important responsibility, which is why PG&E has chose to turn power off to customers during this widespread, severe wind event", PG&E's Senior Vice President of Electric Operations Michael Lewis said in a statement.

California's largest utility company planned to cut off power to as many as 800,000 customers on Wednesday to prevent its equipment from sparking wildfires.

In light of these heightened fire danger conditions, Cal Fire is increasing staff and PG&E is shutting off the power in stages throughout Northern and Central California, including Santa Cruz County.

The power shut-off could last up to five days or more in some areas, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, citing the Napa County Office of Emergency Services.

Public anger has particularly focused on the company's apparent inability to bolster its own infrastructure against wind, and on how freaky it is that a utilities company is even allowed to just shut off power to thousands of homes.

The information Tuesday got here as cities and residents scrambled to arrange for deliberate blackouts of as much as per week, in parts of 34 northern, central and coastal California counties the place excessive winds had been anticipated to comb in Wednesday. If phase three is activated, county officials said as many as 42,000 customers could lose power around midnight. PG&E said it sent notifications to residents who could be affected. "The shelf is completely empty", said Howard Gibbs, the manager at Ace Hardware in the town of Lafayette, 32 kilometres east of San Francisco.

The massive power outages in Northern California this week can serve as a reminder that life without electricity could become a routine aspect of American life. CCHS will continue to provide services during the outage.

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OES Public Information Officer Meriah Miracle said Humboldt County residents should prepare for an outage.

PG&E said its website had received eight times the amount of normal traffic and it would work through the night to get it up back online.

"We want our customers to be aware that, based on this number, it could take several days to fully restore power after the weather passes and safety inspections are completed". That process can not begin until the severe weather event has subsided. "By all metrics, this is forecast to be the strongest offshore wind event since October 2017", PG&E senior meteorologist Evan Duffey told the Examiner at a Tuesday press briefing.

"We implement this public safety power shutoff as a last resort", Singh said in a Tuesday news conference. Check www.pge.com to register for wildfire alerts and for customer updates.

The cause of the Camp Fire - the deadliest in the state's history which claimed 86 lives and razed 15,000 homes in Paradise - has not been officially determined, but speculation is rife that PG&E, which had reported power line problems in the weeks before it started, may be to blame.

"We very much understand the inconvenience and difficulties such a power outage would cause and we do not take or make this decision lightly", he said.

It says a second group of about 234,000 customers will lose power starting at noon.

Almost 800,000 northern and central California homes and businesses can expect to lose electricity for up to several days, starting on Wednesday, PG&E said.