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PG&E Blackout, line safety

PG&E is considering another power blackout later this week. Action News Now spoke to the company about why they say this is necessary.

Posted: Oct 21, 2019 5:47 PM

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. - PG&E is considering another power blackout later this week. 

PG&E says they inspect the power lines after each shutoff looking for damage.

Action News Now spoke to the company about why they say it is necessary to turn off the power, and inspect the lines every time.

Spokeswoman Deanna Contreras says it is based on the weather forecast, and it is not always the same lines that are impacted. 

"Well it may not be the same exact lines that are impacted in from each event to the next each event is unique. It depends on the weather is coming through and where the lines are located. It is not dependent on the codes or city boundaries or county boundaries, it is all based on where the circuits are," said Contreras.

She explained there could be similarities in who loses power in each event, but that is all what their meteorologists see.  

Then there could be new damage to lines that they have inspected in previous shutoffs.

"When the high winds, gusty winds come through and there are trees on the line or damage on the lines we do have to repair that, but when the next weather event comes through there could be another tree or another portion of the line that needs to be repaired again. So after each PSPS event we do need to check the lines because there still could be weather damage on that line," said Contreras. 

Contreras says the company knows the shutoffs impact people and right now that is why they are just warning for the one later in the week.

"I am glad they are actually taking care of their equipment I think that is good. I also think it is fair that why is it this bad in the first place and why are you have to inconvenience so many people using the power you have as our power source to operate in this way when there is a much nicer and collaborative way to do it,"said Sandra Swanstrom who lives in Chico.

Swanstrom says she thinks the shutoffs are frustrating, but they might be useful, only if they are completely necessary. 

"I think it is more frustrating and it was so sudden, that the mandatory blackout for PG&E was without warning and it was so massive on a grand scale and it was like we are doing this and there is nothing you can do about it," added Swanstrom. 

Allison Willis who also lives in Chico says as long as they are seeing results from the shutofffs she thinks they might be useful. 

"If they are finding it to be effective and finding areas where there are problems with the power lines then I don't see an issue with it, but I guess just warning people ahead of time so they are prepared would be best," said Willis. 

The shutoff this week is not finalized. 

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Staying hot and hazy today, but relief from the heat is on the way for the middle of this week. We'll also have the potential for mountain thunderstorms on Wednesday. The heat returns this weekend.
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