As a precautionary measure to reduce wildfire risk during the forecasted severe wind event, PG&E confirmed that it will implement a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) in portions of 34 northern, central and coastal counties, affecting electric service for nearly 800,000 customers.
PG&E expects to begin turning off power in some areas early Wednesday, just after midnight. The power will be turned off to communities in stages, depending on local timing of the severe wind conditions, beginning with counties in the northern part of the state.
“The safety of our customers and the communities we serve is our most important responsibility, which is why PG&E has decided to turn power off to customers during this widespread, severe wind event. We understand the effects this event will have on our customers and appreciate the public’s patience as we do what is necessary to keep our communities safe and reduce the risk of wildfire,” said Michael Lewis, PG&E’s senior vice president of Electric Operations.
The company has been notifying potentially impacted customers and will continue to do so, via automated calls, texts and emails. However, customers not impacted by the PSPS may experience power outages due to PG&E equipment damaged during this major wind event; those customers will not be notified in advance.
It is very possible that customers may be affected by a power shutoff even though they are not experiencing extreme weather conditions in their specific location. This is because the electric system relies on power lines working together to provide electricity across cities, counties and regions.
Portions of Kern, Humboldt, Trinity and Marin counties have been added to the potential scope of this PSPS, in addition to the 30 counties identified Monday. Customers can find the full list of impacted counties, cities and communities at www.pge.com/pspsupdates.
Overall, based on the latest weather forecasts and models, PG&E anticipates that this weather event will last through midday Thursday, with peak winds forecasted from Wednesday morning through Thursday morning and reaching 40 to 55 mph, with isolated gusts up to 60 to 70 mph.
Before restoring power, PG&E must inspect its equipment for damage and make any necessary repairs. That process cannot begin until the severe weather event has subsided.
Given the prolonged period during which the wind event will unfold, and the large number of power line miles that will need to be inspected before restoration, customers are being asked to prepare for an extended outage.
PG&E will work with state and local agencies to provide updated restoration timelines following the conclusion of the severe weather event.
To support customers in the affected areas, PG&E will open Community Resource Centers in several locations beginning on Wednesday, Oct. 9, at 8 a.m. The centers will remain open during daylight hours only. Restrooms, bottled water, electronic-device charging and air-conditioned seating for up to 100 will be available at these facilities.