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PG&E shuts off power to nearly 1 million customers

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Intentional blackouts will affect more than 2.3 million people.

Streaks of lights from vehicles drive along highway 24 during the PG&E power outage in Oakland.
Oakland during an outage October 10.
Photo by Ray Chavez/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images

It’s official: Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) started shutting down power to roughly 940,000 customers—more than 2.3 million people—on Saturday night, starting in Marin County.

Customers in Colusa, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Solano, Sonoma, and Yolo counties will be in the dark this evening. The next phase of shutoffs will start at 8 p.m. and affect people in Alameda, Contra Costa, Monterey, San Benito, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Stanislaus counties.

Use this map to see if your address will be affected by the blackouts.

The intentional blackouts are part of the utility company’s plan to reduce the risk of fire in the region, parts of which have already been torched by the growing Kincade Fire.

“If you rely on electric or battery-dependent medical technologies such as assistive technology, breathing machines, a power wheelchair or scooter and home oxygen or dialysis, it is critical that you have a plan in place for an extended power outage,” warns the utility company.

PG&E’s most recent potential public safety power shutoff (PSPS) area map shows intentional blackouts across the North Bay, the East Bay, the South Bay, and the Peninsula, sparing San Francisco from any brunt of the outages. Shutoffs could last 48 hours or more.

Power will be restored in several stages, according to PG&E. The Sierra foothills should see restoration around 6 a.m. Monday, North Bay Area at 8 a.m. Monday, Southern Sierra foothills midnight Monday, South Bay and East Bay at 8 a.m. Monday, Northern California coastal areas 4 p.m. Sunday.

This blackout comes on the heels of the largest mass evacuation in Sonoma County history. Due to the roaring Kincade Fire, which has scorched more than 74,300 acres, and threat of high winds, officials have ordered evacuations of Windsor, Healdsburg, and other communities between Highway 101 and Pacific Coast Highway.

During widespread outages earlier this month, public figures, including Gov. Gavin Newsom, criticized the company for not being proactive enough warning customers in advance about the shutoffs.

On Thursday, PG&E told the California Public Utilities Commission that it detected an equipment malfunction near the source of the Kincade Fire in Sonoma County around the time the fire started.

The report notes that it is “preliminary”; there’s no conclusion yet on the source of that fire, which is now more than 20,000 acres in size.

PG&E president Bill Johnson says that the company did not shut off power in the area around the Kincade Fire because weather forecasts didn’t appear to call for it at the time.

Note that the potential outage map and search tools depend on PG&E’s site staying active. If the site is unresponsive, refer to an earlier version seen here.