California's PG&E customers face new round of mass outages

California's PG&E customers face new round of mass outages

California's PG&E customers face new round of mass outages

The notice follows a weekend announcement by the company that it may shut off power due to dry, windy weather conditions expected to bring wildfire weather conditions Wednesday through Thursday morning.

San Francisco: The San Francisco-based Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has said that strong winds could lead to another power outage in Northern California this week.

The shutoffs will begin as early as 6 a.m. local time and as late as 4 p.m., and will affect Northern California areas of the Sierra Foothills, the North Bay, and the North Valley. Overnight conditions aren't expected to lessen fire risks, forecasters said.

The delayed regions had been estimated to include at least 93,000 of the 150,000 customers that PG&E had said, in statements Tuesday and early Wednesday morning, would likely lose power during its latest "public safety power shutoff" event, first announced earlier this week.

Update: PG&E on Monday evening increased its estimate of customers impacted by Wednesday's possible shutoff to 303,000 homes and businesses, adding an additional 39,000 customers in parts of Santa Cruz, Santa Clara and San Mateo.

Smoke from the Maria Fire billows above Santa Paula, Calif. on October 31, 2019.

Utility CEO Bill Johnson made the comments Monday in testimony before a California legislative committee that also detailed a series of major shutdowns in recent weeks that left millions of people without power. As of early this morning, winds were already gusting above 50 miles per hour in higher terrain north of San Francisco, the NWS said. The practice cuts electricity to avoid causing fires during high winds and dry conditions.

Last year's devastating Camp Fire that killed 85 people and destroyed thousands of structures was started by electrical lines owned by PG&E.

The state's two other trader-owned utilities - San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison - also have turned off electricity this year. PG&E workers remain at the scene of a three-alarm fire that started after a construction crew hit a gas line on February 07, 2019 in San Francisco.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (L) tours a home destroyed by the Kincade fire in Geyserville, Calif. on October 25, 2019.

"I think we got a little complacent that we had figured it out and all of a sudden we scaled up to 20 times that size in the next event", Johnson said during a state Senate oversight hearing.

"We do not anticipate an yearly repeat of what we went by way of this Oct", Johnson claimed. "If Pacific Gas and Electric is unable to secure its own fate and future ... then the state will prepare itself as backup for a scenario where we do that job for them".

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