Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) announced Sunday it will begin proactively turning off power for safety as part of a Public Safety Power Shutoff in portions of several Northern California communities as early as 5 p.m. and continuing throughout the evening.
To help reduce the risk of wildfire during extreme winds and keep PG&E customers, their families and their homes and businesses safe, the company will first turn off power in the following extreme fire-risk areas—a total of about 70,000 customers in Sierra Foothills communities:
· Butte County (Berry Creek, Brush Creek, Clipper Mills, Feather Falls, Forbestown, Oroville)
· Sierra County (Alleghany, Downieville, Goodyears Bar, Pike City, Sierra City)
· Placer County (Alta, Applegate, Auburn, Baxter, Colfax, Dutch Flat, Emigrant Gap, Foresthill, Gold Run, Loomis, Meadow Vista, Weimar)
· Nevada County (Chicago Park, Grass Valley, Nevada City, North San Juan, Penn Valley, Rough and Ready, Soda Springs, Washington)
· El Dorado County (Aukum, Camino, Coloma, Cool, Diamond Springs, El Dorado, Fair Play, Garden Valley, Georgetown, Greenwood, Grizzly Flats, Kelsey, Kyburz, Mount Aukum, Omo Ranch, Pacific House, Placerville, Pollock Pines, Shingle Springs, Silver Fork, Somerset, Strawberry, Twin Bridges)
· Amador County (Fiddletown, Jackson, Pine Grove, Pioneer, Plymouth, Sutter Creek, Volcano)
· Plumas County (La Porte)
· Calaveras County (Glencoe, Mokelumne Hill, Mountain Ranch, Rail Road Flat, West Point, Wilseyville)
· Yuba County (Brownsville, Camptonville, Challenge, Dobbins, Marysville, Oregon House, Strawberry Valley)
The power shutoffs mark the first of two phases in this Public Safety Power Shutoff today. Later tonight, as the weather continues to progress, PG&E plans to turn off power to communities in the North Bay, affecting about 17,000 customers. Those communities are:
· Lake County (Clearlake, Clearlake Oaks, Clearlake Park, Cobb, Finley, Hidden Valley Lake, Kelseyville, Lakeport, Lower Lake, Middletown)
· Napa County (Angwin, Calistoga, Deer Park, Lake Berryessa, Napa, Pope Valley, Saint Helena)
· Sonoma County (Cloverdale, Geyserville, Healdsburg, Santa Rosa)
PG&E is working directly with first responders and other state and local agencies to prepare for this safety event.
“Nothing is more important than the safety of our customers and the communities we serve. We know how much our customers rely on electric service, and we have made the decision to turn off power as a last resort given the extreme fire danger conditions these communities are experiencing. PG&E has a plan. We want our customers to have plans, too,” said Pat Hogan, senior vice president of electric operations.
When the extreme weather has passed and conditions are safe, PG&E crews will visually inspect the lines for any necessary repairs and safely restore power to customers.
Most customers are expected to be restored by Monday night (October 15), with some outages potentially lasting into Tuesday (October 16). In addition to notifying customers directly, PG&E will provide outage updates and information through social media, local news, radio, and the pge.com website.
PG&E began outreach late Saturday to customers in portions of the Sierra Foothills and the North Bay to notify them of the potential for a Public Safety Power Shutoff. PG&E is also doing additional outreach to its customers who are in the Medical Baseline program.
In making a decision whether to turn off power, PG&E considers a combination of criteria, including:
· A Red Flag Warning declared by the National Weather Service
· Low humidity levels, generally 20 percent and below
· Sustained winds above approximately 25 mph and wind gusts in excess of approximately 45 mph
· Site-specific conditions such as temperature, terrain and local climate
· Condition of dry fuel on the ground and live vegetation (moisture content)
· On-the-ground, real-time observations from PG&E field crews
As part of PG&E’s wildfire preparedness efforts, the company is asking customers to:
· Learn whether their home or business is in or near a high fire-threat area on the California Public Utilities Commission’s High Fire-Threat District map. Customers also can visit pge.com/wildfiresafety to enter their address and find out whether their home or business is served by an electric line that may be turned off for safety during periods of high wildfire threat.
· 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 before turning off electric service for safety, when and where possible.
· Prepare for and practice an emergency plan to keep themselves, their families and/or employees emergency-ready and safe during an outage. 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.