CALIFORNIA, USA — Pacific Gas & Electric cut power Sunday to more than 225,000 California customers and planned outages for many more to prevent the chance of sparking wildfires because of extreme fire weather.
They are shutting off power due to high winds and dry weather that is supposed to happen later in the day.
The nation’s largest utility said outages began in the far north of the state in Shasta, Tehama, Glenn, Colusa and Lake counties and were expected to continue southward throughout Sunday and possibly into Monday.
More than 1 million people could be affected by planned outages as California braces for a return of gusty winds and bone-dry weather.
The remaining 136,000 customers are expected to lose power by late Sunday evening. As many as 361,000 customers in 36 counties could be affected. 14 of those counties are in the ABC10 viewing area, plus Butte County.
For a map of current and future outages, view the map below.
In a Sunday press conference, PG&E officials said they expected weather to subside beginning midday on Monday. Power restoration is expected Monday night through Tuesday night, depending on safety conditions.
Scott Strenfel, Senior Meteorologist with PG&E, said they were entering a dangerous period with winds expected to pick up over the next four or five hours. He said this wind event is expected to be the strongest of the season with potential wind gusts up to 70 mph and wind speeds up to 35 mph.
ABC10 Meteorologist Monica Woods echoed Strenfel's comments.
"This is the strongest wind event we've tracked this season with extreme fire danger developing overnight Sunday through early Monday," Woods said. "If a fire starts, it will likely spread faster than firefighters can get a handle on it."
With no rain, dry conditions, and strong winds during the overnight hours, Cal Fire officials are predicting a long night for fire crews and are urging families to be prepared.
Resource centers will be available in areas impacted by the shutoffs and will provide charging stations, water and snacks. People using the centers are also expected to comply with COVID-19 protocols and wear masks.
The weather that prompted the shutoffs is expected to subside by Monday in most areas, at which point crews will begin inspecting lines and restoring power.
“PG&E will safely restore power as quickly as possible, with the goal of restoring most customers within 12 daylight hours, based on current weather conditions,” officials said.
More than 172,000 customers are estimated to be affected by the potential outages in the ABC10 viewing area and over 13,000 in Butte County will be affected. Here is how many customers in some counties could potentially be impacted by PG&E's latest round of power shutoffs:
- Amador: 10,398
- Butte: 13,066
- Calaveras: 15,688
- Colusa: 565
- El Dorado: 38,449
- Nevada: 40,246
- Placer: 17,012
- Plumas: 9,370
- San Joaquin: 10
- Sierra: 1,101
- Solano: 1,602
- Stanislaus: 35
- Tuolumne: 33,272
- Yolo: 165
- Yuba: 5,047
- TOTAL: 186,026