OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Gov. Gavin Newsom pleaded with Northern Californians Tuesday, asking them to refrain from taking out their frustrations on Pacific Gas & Electric workers during a preventive power outage that may take place later this week.
The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for the Bay Area beginning Wednesday afternoon. A high pressure system is moving into the area, driving up temperatures, kicking up gusty winds and lowering the humidity to bone-dry levels. A combination ripe for a deadly and devastating wildfire.
- ALSO READ: Bay Area Power Shutoff Survival Guide
PG&E has alerted residents in Napa, Sonoma and San Mateo counties by email, text and phone calls of the possibility of another round of power shutoffs. The utility plans to shut off power to 7,533 customers in Napa County, 33,613 customers and 1,082 baseline customers in Sonoma County and 6,462 customers and 104 baseline customers in San Mateo County.
About 738,000 customers lost power in the preemptive shutoff beginning Oct. 9th across more than 30 counties as part of PG&E’s efforts to prevent its equipment from sparking wildfires. This time around the number was around 2,000.
On Tuesday, a team of PG&E, state and federal meteorologists were monitoring the incoming weather system. The utility said it hoped to give final word of the power outages by Wednesday morning.
During the Oct. 9th outages, frustrations boiled over into acts of violence.
A PG&E office in Oroville was forced to close after someone threw eggs at the front doors and the California Highway Patrol said a PG&E vehicle was shot at on Interstate 5 in Colusa County.
The PG&E employee told officers he was driving in a marked company vehicle north of the Maxwell Rest Area around 7:48 p.m. when a white pickup truck pulled up next to him. He heard what sounded like a gunshot and his side passenger window shattered. The CHP confirmed a bullet did shatter the window but did not injure the driver.
“One of the things that really concerned me about the last blackouts is how some of our PG&E employees were treated,” Newsom said while taking with reporters in Oakland. “They are not to blame. You had folks throwing rocks, attacking verbally and physically folks who were out there doing heroic work every single day.”
“I cannot impress upon people, I recognize your frustration deeply, but it is not the fault of the men and women that are on the front lines trying to keep you safe,” the governor continued. “I just cannot encourage people more to respect the work that they are doing and be respectful of the position they are in this very difficult time as well.”