PG&E Warns Customers Of More Power Shutoffs In Bay Area

Doug Sovern
October 22, 2019 - 3:28 pm

AP Photo/Ben Margot

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(KCBS Radio) - PG&E is slightly scaling back the public safety power shutoff that is expected to start on Wednesday afternoon as fire danger returns to the Bay Area and much of Northern California.

The utility now says the shutoff could impact about 189,000 homes and businesses – or nearly half a million people – across 16 counties. That is down from an earlier estimate of 200,000 customers, and a fraction of the 700,000 that lost power two weeks ago.

PG&E spokesperson Melissa Subbotin says Marin and Solano are no longer on the list, but Sonoma, Napa and Lake counties are as well as about 900 customers in San Mateo County.

“We continue to try to reduce the scope as much as we possibly can,” says Subbotin. “We understand the impact turning off power for safety has on customers and we don’t take this action lightly… but safety is our highest responsibility.”

Warm weather, low humidity and high winds have prompted the National Weather Service to issue a Red Flag advisory for fire danger, which starts Wednesday afternoon for the North Bay, East Bay and Santa Cruz Mountains.

“The red flag warning is in effect for very dry, gusty offshore winds which are expected to develop… and accompanying those very dry winds is going to be very low humidity,” says NWS meteorologist Spencer Tangen. “This is definitely a classic Diablo winds setup. We have cold, high pressure in the Great Basin and very warm, low pressure here in California and that creates those offshore Diablo winds.”

Subbotin says PG&E expects the shutoffs to start on Wednesday afternoon, but exact times will vary based on region and the actual conditions that arrive. The utility is notifying customers who are in the projected shutoff areas.

PG&E anticipates the following Bay Area cities will be impacted:

  • Napa (7,533 customers): Angwin, Calistoga, Deer Park, Lake Berryessa, Napa, Oakville, Pope Valley, Rutherford, St Helena, Yountville
  • San Mateo (907 customers): Emerald Hills, Half Moon Bay, La Honda, Loma Mar, Pescadero, Portola Valley, Rackerby, Redwood City, San Gregorio, Woodside
  • Sonoma (28,460 customers): Annapolis, Boyes Hot Springs, Cloverdale, Fulton, Geyserville, Glen Ellen, Guerneville, Healdsburg, Kenwood, Larkfield, Santa Rosa, Sonoma, Windsor

Customers can also see if their area will be impacted on PG&E’s website.

Reported by Doug Sovern. Written by Jessica Yi.