Pacific Gas & Electric says it’s going forward with the second planned power shut-off this week because of growing winds and high fire danger in Northern California.
The utility says blackouts will begin around 2 p.m. Saturday in parts of 36 counties. About 940,000 customers – more than 2 million people – will be affected.
It’s the third preventative shut-off in as many weeks amid concern that gusty winds could knock down power lines and spark fires.
Winds picking up Saturday night could gust to more than 85 mph and make conditions extremely difficult for firefighters trying to tame a huge blaze in wine country.
Schedule of Shutoffs
“The PSPS will occur in six phases, times may change (earlier or later) dependent on weather.
The first phase will begin about 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 26. Customer impacts will include these counties: Amador, Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, San Joaquin, Sierra, Siskiyou, Shasta, Tehama and Yuba.
The second phase will occur around 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 26, impacting customers in the following counties: Lake, Marin, Mendocino (south), Napa, Solano, Sonoma and Yolo.
Phase three will begin about 5 p.m. Saturday, October 26, impacting customers in these counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Monterey, San Benito, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Stanislaus.
Phase four will begin about 5 p.m. Saturday, October 26, impacting customers in these counties: Alpine, Calaveras, Mariposa and Tuolumne.
Phase five begin about 5 p.m. Saturday, October 26, impacting customers in these counties: Humboldt, Mendocino (north) and Trinity.
The sixth and final phase is scheduled to begin 10 a.m., Sunday, October 27, impacting customers in Kern County.
The power will be turned off to communities in stages, depending on local timing of the severe wind conditions.
October 26 PSPS Event
The times below are estimates and may change (earlier or later) dependent on weather.
Forecasters are predicting winds of up to 60 mph and gusts reaching up to 70 mph in higher elevations.
The shutoffs will begin this evening, and are expected to last through Monday. Customers in portions of 36 counties could lose power at some point.
All Bay Area counties except San Francisco are expected to have some outages over the next three days.
PG&E had earlier estimated 57,360 customers in Alameda County; 48,824 in Contra Costa County; 86,813 in Marin County; 11,294 in Napa County; 64,932 in San Mateo County; 27,093 in Santa Clara County; 10,232 in Solano County and 92,877 in Sonoma County, could be affected.
This shutdown could be even bigger than the one that began on Oct. 9. Eventually 738,000 customers in 34 counties lost power at some point during that outage.
PG&E was widely criticized for its handling of the event, including for poor communication with customers and local governments.
PG&E has been shutting off power proactively to prevent wildfires after utility lines started massively deadly and destructive fires over the last two years. PG&E has estimated that similar power shutoffs may be necessary for the next decade until the utility can upgrade its technology. [KTVU]
So do you think you will have power or not?