PG&E Warns of Power Shutoffs in Northern California Due to High Fire Danger

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) has issued a warning about potential power shutoffs in several areas of Northern California due to the elevated risk of wildfires caused by critical fire danger. The utility company’s meteorologists have identified eight counties at risk: Colusa, Glenn, Lake, Napa, Shasta, Solano, Tehama, and Yolo. These shutoffs, aimed at preventing wildfires sparked by PG&E’s equipment, coincide with the National Weather Service’s red flag warning for the region.

The power shutoffs are expected to occur in areas where the risk of fire is high, as indicated by the weather conditions. Sacramento and the surrounding region are forecasted to experience temperatures as high as 110 degrees during the weeklong heatwave. The excessive heat warning issued by the weather service covers the entire Sacramento Valley, with temperatures expected to exceed 105 degrees.

While the exact number of affected homes and businesses has not been specified, PG&E’s maps indicate planned outages in various areas, including parts of Yolo County, Winters, Putah Creek, Rumsey, Guinda, Cache Creek, Willows, Orland, Corning, Red Bluff, Anderson, Redding, Bella Vista, and Palo Cedro.

PG&E has already implemented enhanced powerline safety settings in the affected areas, adjusting the sensitivity of the equipment to detect and respond to potential issues faster. The utility company has expressed concerns about the dry vegetation and strong winds, which could lead to the rapid spread of fires.

In recent years, PG&E has faced criticism for its role in sparking devastating wildfires, including the 2018 Camp Fire. The company has been found liable for billions of dollars in damages and has been blamed for starting over 30 wildfires since 2017. PG&E has previously implemented planned power shutoffs to mitigate wildfire risks.

PG&E customers enrolled in its Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) program will be visited by company employees to ensure they are aware of the potential shutoffs. The utility plans to open several centers in the affected areas, providing amenities such as air conditioning, bottled water, snacks, and phone charging facilities. Restoration of power to affected customers will commence once the weather conditions improve and the de-energized lines are inspected for any damage.

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