SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — PG&E began its wind-related safety shutoffs around 4 a.m. Monday morning with outages initiated in parts of Sonoma, Napa and Contra Costa counties.
The current PG&E outage map shows wide swaths of the North Bay already under a PSPS. The utility announced the planned PSPS event at around 7 p.m. Sunday.
PG&E officials were saying late Monday morning that a total of 44,000 customers in 32 counties could be impacted by the planned public safety power shutoffs. The utility has provided a list of community resource centers on its website that will provide some support for those affected by the PSPS.
As of around 2:30 p.m. Monday afternoon, the bulk of the outages were in Solano County (4,500 customers) and Napa County (2,441 customers). There were also customers impacted in Contra Costa County (less than 600), Alameda County (134 customers) and Sonoma County (less than 100 customers).
A dry, offshore wind event began Sunday night with winds increasing Monday, including expected wind gusts up to 50 miles per hour. With wildfire danger elevated during California’s historic drought, the utility giant is trying to minimize danger from energized power lines.
The shutoffs will extend beyond the Bay Area as well, to areas of Fresno, Santa Barabara, Butte County and other areas.
PG&E said in a statement it expects “all clear” warnings to be issued in those areas by Monday evening, with full power restoration beginning Tuesday afternoon.
Despite being in the anticipated PSPS area, many residents of St. Helena still had their power as of shortly before 12 p.m.
The preparation for the PSPS served as a reminder to some residents of the Glass Fire.
“It’s just been a year since we had to evacuate and everything, so we’re adapting to life as it is right now,” said St. Helena resident Fabio B. Maia.
Businesses could also suffer. Christopher Kostow owns a few restaurants in the North Bay.
“The biggest challenge is the businesses. We have to be ready and have the generators and make sure the teams know what to do in the case the power goes out,” said Kostow. “We have our generator out as usual and just waiting for the expected.”
PG&E customers in areas impacted by a PSPS are advised to buy plenty of non-perishable foods, set your refrigerators and freezers to the coldest setting. charge their cellphones and other devices. and turn off large appliances.
Critical fire weather is also forecast for California’s Central Valley and coastal ranges including the Santa Cruz Mountains on Monday, according to the National Weather Service Prediction Center.
Strong northerly winds and dry conditions are expected and a red flag warning was issued for the region. PG&E meteorologists, along with the company’s wildfire safety and emergency operations centers, are monitoring weather conditions closely, officials said.
Customers are being notified by text, e-mail and automated phone calls, which began Saturday, two days prior to the potential shutoff.
In addition PG&E employees will pay in-person visits when possible to customers in the company’s medical baseline program who haven’t verified that they received the notifications.
Customers can look up their address at pge.com/pspsupdates to check if PG&E is monitoring their location for the potential safety shutoff.
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