Update: Due to Extreme Weather Forecast, PG&E to Proactively Turn Off Power for Safety in Portions of North Bay; Continues to Monitor Sierra Foothills Conditions



SAN FRANCISCO–()–Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) announced on Friday evening that it will begin proactively turning off power for safety as part of a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) in portions of several North Bay communities early Saturday morning and the power will be out through at least Saturday afternoon.

To help reduce the risk of wildfire and keep our customers, their families and their homes and businesses safe, the company will turn off power to approximately 1,600 customers total in these areas of extreme fire risk:

  • Napa County: Portions of unincorporated Napa County and Lake Berryessa
  • Solano County: Portions of Suisun City, and unincorporated areas near Vacaville and Winters
  • Yolo County: Unincorporated areas near Davis and Winters

“The safety of our customers and the communities we serve is our most important responsibility. We know how much our customers rely on electric service, and our decision tonight to turn off power is to protect our communities experiencing extreme fire danger,” said Michael Lewis, senior vice president of Electric Operations, PG&E.

Through its Wildfire Safety Operations Center, PG&E also continues to monitor weather conditions in parts of the Sierra foothills. Peak fire risk in these areas is forecasted to begin at around 9 p.m. Saturday and last through roughly noon on Sunday. A potential PSPS may affect approximately 30,000 customers total in the following areas:

  • Butte County: Portions of Paradise, Oroville, Bangor, Forest Ranch, Chico, Berry Creek, Palermo
  • Yuba County: Portions of Browns Valley, Oregon House, Marysville, Wheatland, Rackerby
  • Nevada County: Portions of Auburn, Grass Valley, Smartville, Rough and Ready, Penn Valley
  • El Dorado County: Portions of Pilot Hill, Greenwood, Georgetown, Cool
  • Placer County: Portions of Lincoln

If you live in these communities, PG&E will attempt to contact you via telephone, text and email. You can also type in your address through PG&E’s Service Impact Map (pge.com/eventmap) to determine whether you’re affected.

PG&E is working directly with CAL FIRE, Cal OES, and other state and local agencies to prepare for these safety events.

On Friday morning, the National Weather Service issued Red Flag Warnings for the Central Valley and the North Bay hills, starting Friday evening or Saturday morning and lasting until Sunday afternoon.

In addition, weather forecasts from PG&E’s Wildfire Safety Operations Center showed strong and intensifying winds in the Sacramento Valley and North Bay beginning Friday night into Saturday, with sustained winds between 15 and 30 mph, and local gusts of at least 40 mph. At the same time, northeasterly winds will develop over the Sierra.

After a forecasted Saturday lull, winds are expected to pick back up again beginning Saturday night through Sunday morning along the slopes and foothills of the northern and central Sierra.

Public Safety Power Shutoff Criteria

No single factor drives a Public Safety Power Shutoff, as each situation is unique. PG&E

carefully reviews a combination of many criteria when determining if power should be

turned off for safety. These factors generally include, but are not limited to:

  • A Red Flag Warning declared by the National Weather Service
  • Low humidity levels, generally 20 percent and below
  • Forecasted sustained winds generally above 25 mph and wind gusts in excess of approximately 45 mph, depending on location and 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’s Wildfire Safety Operations Center and observations from PG&E field crews

Customer notifications

PG&E remains committed to providing notice to customers in advance of a Public Safety

Power Shutoff, when possible. The company’s goal, dependent on weather, is to send customer alerts prior to shutting off power. PG&E will do so through automated calls, texts and emails. The company will also use pge.com and social media channels, and keep local news and radio outlets informed and updated.

Customers can also type in their address through PG&E’s Service Impact Map (pge.com/eventmap) to determine whether they’re affected.

The cadence and frequency of notifications will depend, however, on the forecasted extreme weather conditions and how quickly those threats change, among other factors.

How our customers can prepare

As part of these preparedness efforts, PG&E is asking customers to:

  • 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 through automated calls, texts, and emails, when possible, prior to, and during, a Public Safety Power Shutoff.
  • Plan for medical needs like medications that require refrigeration or devices that need power.
  • Identify backup charging methods for phones and keep hard copies of emergency numbers.
  • Build or restock your emergency kit with flashlights, fresh batteries, first aid supplies and cash.
  • 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.

Inspections and restoration of power

After the extreme weather has passed and it is safe to do so, PG&E crews will work to visually inspect each mile of the impacted power lines to ensure they are free from damage and safe to energize.

Inspections will take place during daylight hours and, in most cases, PG&E expects to

be able to restore power within 24 to 48 hours after extreme weather has passed. However, depending on weather conditions or if any repairs are needed, outages (weather event plus restoration time) could last longer than 48 hours. For planning purposes, PG&E suggests customers prepare for multiple-day outages.

Like a winter storm outage, during a Public Safety Power Shutoff, outage information, including maps showing which areas may by impacted, will be available on pge.com.

About PG&E

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric energy companies in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 24,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/ and www.pge.com/en/about/newsroom/index.page.

Read on The Source