Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E)—a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation and one of the largest combined natural gas and electric energy companies in the United States—proactively shut off power in portions of several Northern California communities on Sunday.
To help reduce the risk of wildfire during extreme winds and keep PG&E customers, their families and their homes and businesses safe, the company first turned off power in extreme fire-risk areas—a total of about 70,000 customers—in Sierra Foothills communities.
The power shutoffs mark the first of two phases in this “Public Safety Power Shutoff”. As the weather continues to progress, PG&E plans to turn off power to communities in the North Bay, affecting about 17,000 customers in Lake County, Napa County and Sonoma County.
When the extreme weather has passed, and conditions are safe, PG&E crews will visually inspect the lines for any necessary repairs and safely restore power to customers.
Most customers are expected to be restored by tonight (October 15), with some outages potentially lasting into Tuesday (October 16).
In making a decision whether to turn off power, PG&E considers a combination of criteria, including:
A Red Flag Warning declared by the National Weather Service
Low humidity levels, generally 20 percent and below
Sustained winds above approximately 25 mph and wind gusts in excess of approximately 45 mph
Site-specific conditions such as temperature, terrain and local climate
Condition of dry fuel on the ground and live vegetation (moisture content)
On-the-ground, real-time observations from PG&E field crews