SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — PG&E is calling for a potential Public Safety Power Shutoff and the utility will make a decision Wednesday morning about whether communities will once again be left in the dark.
PG&E says it has narrowed the scope of the potential power outage, but it’s still estimated to affect about 184,000 customers from Central to Northern California due to high fire danger that prompted a Red Flag Warning to be issued from Wednesday until Thursday afternoon.
For the last two days, PG&E has reached out to those customers by phone, email or text to warn them.
California Governor Gavin Newsom will admit that the public utility company has improved in that area, but not much else.
“I sleep with one eye open when it comes to PG&E,” Newsom said Tuesday.
If PG&E decides to shut off power, it will start at 2 p.m. Wednesday and they won’t get the all clear to start the re-energizing process until Thursday afternoon at the earliest.
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Then, there is another wind event forecast for the weekend. When asked if the potential power outage will last through both weather events, PG&E CEO William D. Johnson responded, “We would try to re-energize as soon as possible.”
Another issue with PG&E is its website. With communication being key at this critical time, the company’s website once again crashed intermittently Tuesday. “I will be keeping an eye on it and it better work,” Johnson reassured.
“They better address their damn website, they better address their call center, they better address their communications strategy, they better address the needs of local communities, particularly those that are most vulnerable,” Newsom said.
PG&E says if the power goes out, they are going to test new technology to get the lights on faster. They will use a plane on loan from the California Highway Patrol with infrared technology to be able to inspect power lines at night.