PG&E Expands Possible Power Outages To East Bay And Marin

All News KCBS Radio
November 18, 2019 - 12:41 pm

AP Photo/Ben Margot

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PG&E customers in Alameda, Contra Costa and Marin counties are now included in a growing list of areas where electricity could be intentionally cut later this week, the company said Monday.

There are 264,000 customers who could lose power starting Wednesday as strong winds blow through 22 dry counties. It's a dangerous combination of weather conditions that PG&E fears could cause wildfires if the gusts knock down the utility's equipment, sparking flames in vegetation. 

Napa, Sonoma and Solano counties had already been notified that there could be blackouts in pockets this week. The Sierra Nevada foothills and northern parts of the state may see outages too. 

Public safety power shutoffs, as they are called, have become a recurring fact of life this fall in the Bay Area. 

The company has been criticized for relying too heavily on power shutoffs to avoid wildfires after years of poorly maintaining power lines and other equipment, according to the critics. 

PG&E, which has filed for bankruptcy, has said the intentional outages are an effective way to guarantee safety and minimize the company's liability.