PG&E Cut Power for Hundreds of Thousands in Northern California

By District Energy posted 10-10-2019 09:09



In an attempt to avoid sparking a wildfire, California's largest utility intentionally cut power to hundreds of thousands of customers Wednesday, and power isn't likely to be restored for days, the company said.

Pacific Gas & Electric started the shutoff early Wednesday, leaving parts of 22 counties -- including northern portions of the San Francisco Bay Area -- in the dark.

PG&E shut down power for about 500,000 customers in Northern California early Wednesday, but was able to restore it for about 44,000 during the day, the company said at a press conference. An additional 250,000 customers may lose power later Wednesday, the utility said.
"We took this step to ensure safety as a last resort, and we are committed to reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire events" Sumeet Singh, vice president of PG&E's Community Wildfire Safety Program, said Wednesday.

Diablo winds sweeping across arid Northern California "historically are the events that cause the most destructive wildfires in California history," said PG&E meteorologist Scott Strenfel.

The wind is expected to subside Friday, Strenfel said. PG&E crews will then examine their system for damage and begin to restore power for customers. That could take several days after the wind dies down, Singh said.

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