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PG&E will move forward with shutoffs

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Planned outages will affect customers in 17 counties starting today

A white building with a steepled tower, surrounded by dark trees, with a sunset in the sky above.
Sonoma’s Sebastiani Theatre, powerless during PG&E blackouts this month.
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Update: PG&E says will move forward with additional power shutoffs staring Wednesday.

According to Lily Jamali of KQED News, roughly 179,000 customers in 17 counties will be affected in Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Kern, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, San Mateo, Sierra, Sonoma, Tehama, and Yuba.

Power outages will start at 2 p.m in the Sierra Foothills and 3 p.m. in the North Bay.

Outages in affected areas of San Mateo and Kern counties will begin at 1 p.m. Thursday.

According to a statement from the utility company, “Once the high winds subside, PG&E will inspect the de-energized lines to ensure they were not damaged during the wind event, and then restore power.”

PG&E will try to restore power “as quickly as possible,” with the goal of restoring the majority of electricity within 48 hours after the weather has passed.

Despite public disgruntlement over power shutoffs earlier this month, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) has warned Bay Area residents that it might pull the plug again this week, in response to fire threat from dry weather, high winds, and PG&E’s electrical equipment.

On Sunday, the company announced that it’s considering proactively turning off power across portions of 17 California counties across the Sierra Foothills and the North Bay.

The utility warns that “any of PG&E’s more than five million electric customers could have their power shut off” in counties including Marin, Napa, Sonoma, and Solano

Although the company has made no official plan to shutoff power again, PG&E says that customers should prepare for potential blackouts. The real possibility of shutoffs will crystallize closer to Wednesday or Thursday.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has not issued a red flag warning this week, but the regional forecast does reference “high fire danger” starting October 21 until October 24, with a likelihood of gusty north winds.

NWS says residents should pay attention for “possible red flag warnings” as the forecast develops.

Customers and community leaders alike remain irked about PG&E cutting off more than 700,000 households and businesses for as long as four days earlier this month. Gov. Gavin Newsom asked the company to pay tens of millions in rebates to affected customers and asking the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to investigate the utility’s performance during the outages.

Howeve, PG&E President Bill Johnson call the outages a success, even while apologizing for the troubles caused. At a CPUC hearing last week, Johnson and other executives defended the shutoff policy and predicted that it will continue for years.