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Nearly 53,000 PG&E customers in California begin losing power over fire danger

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Posted: Oct 15, 2020 1:20 PM
Updated: Oct 15, 2020 1:20 PM

A California utility company has begun shutting off power to nearly 53,000 customers as hot, dry and windy weather threatens to spark yet more fires.

Wildfires in California have burned over 4.1 million acres in the state this year and claimed the lives of 31 people, according to Cal Fire. As a response to the onset of weather conditions favorable to fanning fires, Pacific Gas and Electric, which has been blamed for the deadly 2018 Camp Fire, is shutting off the power to prevent its equipment from sparking blazes.

The Public Safety Power Shutoff, or PSPS, spans 24 counties in Northern California.

The first phase, which began at 6 p.m. Wednesday, will impact about 33,000 customers in the Northern Sierra Foothills and North Bay Mountains, affecting Butte, Lake, Napa, Nevada, Plumas, Shasta, Solano, Sonoma, Tehama, Yolo and Yuba counties, PG&E said in a news release Wednesday.

The second phase will begin later at 8 p.m., affecting approximately 19,000 customers in portions of counties in the Sierra Foothills, Bay Area and Santa Cruz Mountains, including Alameda, Amador, Calaveras, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Monterey, Nevada, Placer, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Sierra counties.

The third phase, which starts Thursday, will affect approximately 700 customers in parts of Amador, Calaveras, Humboldt and Trinity counties.

PG&E expects to restore power to all affected customers by Friday night, according to the release.

PG&E officials said during a news conference that while this event affects fewer customers compared to previous similar events, it covers a larger portion of counties.

Last year, a PSPS from the company impacted about 738,000 customers, the company said. Some were left in the dark for days, according to California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who demanded the company provide rebates or credits.

"We understand that power shutoffs are more than an inconvenience for our customers and we did not live up to their expectations when it came to communicating this event," Bill Johnson, the company's CEO said in a statement.

"It's important to remember that the sole purpose of these power shutoffs is to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire in the communities that we serve."

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 923648

Reported Deaths: 17559
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles3050707044
Riverside675521306
San Bernardino641311073
Orange594421468
San Diego55898885
Kern34114420
Fresno31195439
Sacramento25882499
Santa Clara24665404
Alameda23636463
San Joaquin21988492
Contra Costa18877243
Stanislaus17814400
Tulare17730291
Ventura14409166
Imperial13023338
San Francisco12277145
Monterey1153892
San Mateo11278159
Santa Barbara9886126
Sonoma9601136
Merced9588155
Kings848683
Solano758676
Marin7107127
Madera506676
Placer429059
San Luis Obispo424032
Yolo325060
Butte313453
Santa Cruz284825
Shasta199931
Napa199816
Sutter188912
San Benito144915
El Dorado13684
Yuba133810
Mendocino115421
Tehama9219
Lassen7711
Lake70216
Glenn6793
Nevada6328
Humboldt56910
Colusa5536
Calaveras34721
Amador33716
Tuolumne2855
Inyo24015
Siskiyou2140
Mono1822
Del Norte1801
Mariposa812
Plumas760
Modoc450
Trinity280
Sierra60
Alpine40
Unassigned00
Chico
Overcast
55° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 55°
Oroville
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 55°
Paradise
Overcast
55° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 55°
Chester
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 34°
Red Bluff
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 52°
Willows
Overcast
55° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 55°
We're closing out the month of October on a beautiful note weather-wise over northern California with plenty of sunshine and above-average temperatures. Halloween will bring slightly warmer temperatures and more sunshine.
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