Second Phase Of PG&E Outages Coming To Bay Area

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October 09, 2019 - 10:18 am
A message is displayed on a wall inside the Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) Wildfire Safety Operations Center on August 05, 2019 in San Francisco, California.

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Tens of thousands of Bay Area residents, mainly in the North Bay, lost power from PG&E early on Wednesday while many more homes and businesses will go dark later on Wednesday in the next phase of intentional shutdowns.

After initially sayin a second round of outages would commence at noon in the East Bay, Peninsula and South Bay, PG&E announced it had delayed the cuts until later Wednesday night. 

The unprecdented shutdown, affecting 800,000 customers across 34 California counties, was an attempt to mitigate the risk of fires that could be stoked amid strong winds and low humidity this week. 

Contra Costa County officials predict that 120,000 people could lose electricity and the outages could last for up to five days.

"The fire danger is the highest it's been all season," said Contra Costa County Fire Protection District spokesman Steve Hill. "We ask people to be careful in all of their outdoor activities."

Most of Lafayette and all Moraga and Orinda should expect to lose power. Pleasant Hill, Bay Point, Pittsburg and Pinole will also be affected by the next round of outage, according to officials. The county website contains information about the blackouts.

Parts of Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties will power down in the afternoon too. PG&E said that in all 234,000 Bay Area customers will be without electricity in this second phase of shutdowns, called a Public Safety Power Shutoff

Some customers in Lake, Marin, Napa, Sonoma and Solano counties lost power after midnight on Wednesday, as much as 12 hours earlier than PG&E had initially said the blackout would reach the Bay Area. 

Restarting the power when the weather conditions improve is not a simple process. PG&E must inspect all power lines that were deactivated. 

PG&E has encouraged customers to visit their website for updates, but it has been plagued by intermitant outages.