UKIAH, 9/23/19 — Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has announced that they will be turning off power to 21,000 customers in the Sierra Foothills region, but that no power-shut offs are currently planned for Sonoma, Lake or Mendocino counties — though the National Weather Service has declared that those areas will also be under a “red flag warning” for critical fire weather, starting tonight. These planned power outages, dubbed “public safety power shut-offs” (PSPS) by PG&E, are a preemptive measure to ensure that that energized power-lines are not hit by trees during high winds and high temperatures, sparking a fire.
The power will be turned off in these areas at 5 p.m. this afternoon. And to reiterate, Mendocino County, Sonoma County, and Lake County will not be affected by this planned outage. The three counties affected by the outage are Butte, Nevada, and Yuba. However, PG&E acknowledges in the press release below that the North Coast is not out of the woods yet, and with rising temperatures and continuing high winds, we remain under a “PSPS watch” through Wednesday. Fire critical weather of high winds and temperatures, and low humidity, is expected again tomorrow, and PG&E will make a final decision on a shut-off in our region sometime tomorrow afternoon or evening.
The designation of customer is an important one, because PG&E counts customers, which could be a family of several people, a retail store, or other business, the 21,000 customer number generally indicates more than that number of people will be affected.
Here is the press release announcement from PG&E:
Sept. 23, 2019
PG&E Turning Off the Power for Safety to Approximately 21,000 Customers in Three Counties in Sierra Foothills Only; Safety Shutoffs to Begin at 5 PM Today
No PSPS Event Scheduled Monday Night for North Bay counties
PG&E Opening Community Resource Centers in Affected Areas
PG&E Continues to Monitor Hot, Dry and Windy Weather Across the Same
Region for a Potential Second Event on Tuesday Night
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) confirmed that it will implement a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) affecting about 21,000 customers in three counties across Northern California today. Those areas include portions of Butte, Nevada and Yuba counties in the Sierra foothills. PG&E opened its Emergency Operations Center in San Francisco on Saturday, Sept. 21, and has been monitoring the weather and the evolving situation. PG&E’s meteorological team continues to monitor weather forecasts hourly, and the company has hundreds of personnel ready to respond for inspections, repairs and restoration once the weather subsides.
Based on the current forecast, the PSPS impact footprint has been reduced to 21,000 in three counties in the Sierra foothills from an original forecast of 124,000 in nine counties in the Sierra foothills and the North Bay. No customers in the North Bay are expected to be affected by Monday’s PSPS, nor are customers in El Dorado, Placer and Sutter counties expected to be affected tonight.
PG&E will continue to monitor weather throughout the affected area and may take additional actions as necessary to keep customers and communities safe.
Late Monday Afternoon (Sept. 23) Event
At approximately 5 p.m. today, PG&E expects to start turning off the power for safety to 21,000 customers in advance of windy, dry conditions forecasted to begin around sundown. It will take several hours to turn off customers in the affected footprint.
Elevated weather conditions, including potential fire risk, are forecasted to begin around 8 p.m. tonight, with peak fire risk forecasted to last until 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 24.
This PSPS is expected to affect about 21,000 customers in the three counties.
Customer impacts may include:
Bangor, Berry Creek, Brush Creek, Feather Falls, Forbestown, Hurleton, Oroville, Palermo, Rackerby
Grass Valley, Nevada City, Penn Valley, Rough and Ready
Bangor, Browns Valley, Brownsville, Camptonville, Challenge, Dobbins, Forbestown, Loma Rica, Marysville, Oregon House, Rackerby, Smartville
Community Resource Centers
To support customers in the potentially affected counties, PG&E will open Community Resource Centers in multiple locations on Tuesday, Sept. 24, at 8 a.m. The centers will be open during daylight hours only and will provide restrooms, bottled water, electronic-device charging and air-conditioned seating for up to 100 customers each. The centers are located at:
Sierra College Grass Valley Campus
213 and 250 Sierra College Drive
Grass Valley, CA 95945
14144 Lakeridge Circle
Magalia, CA 95954
Harrison Stadium parking lot
1674 3rd Avenue
Oroville, CA 95965
9185 Marysville Road
Oregon House, CA 95935
Tuesday Evening (Sept. 24) Event
PG&E is also tracking a similar weather event in the same general nine-county region in the Sierra foothills and the North Bay for Tuesday evening, Sept. 24.
Elevated weather conditions, including potential fire risk, are forecasted to begin around 7 p.m. Tuesday evening, Sept. 24, with peak fire risk forecasted to last until 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 25.
PG&E will make a final decision on whether to initiate a second Public Safety Power Shutoff event late Tuesday morning. If a PSPS proceeds in these counties, it is anticipated to take place during the late afternoon or evening hours on Tuesday.
Once the weather subsides, and conditions are safe to do so, PG&E crews will conduct safety inspections, complete any needed repairs and begin restoration.
PG&E provided early warning notification of the Public Safety Power Shutoff and will share updates until power is restored. Out of an abundance of caution, PG&E began providing notice to customers before this safety event through automated phone calls, texts, social media and emails on Saturday, Sept. 21.
As part of these preparedness efforts, PG&E has asked customers to:
Stay informed on the latest Public Safety Power Shutoff updates at www.pge.com/pspsupdates. Customers also can enter their address and find out if their home or business is served by an electric line that may be affected by this event.
Update their contact information at www.pge.com/mywildfirealerts or by calling 1-866-743-6589 during normal business hours. PG&E will use this information to alert customers when and where possible before turning off electric service for safety.
Prepare for and practice an emergency plan to keep themselves and their families emergency-ready and safe during an outage. Keep in mind family members who are elderly, younger children and pets. Information and tips including a safety plan checklist are available at www.pge.com/psps.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric energy companies in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com and www.pge.com/news.