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PG&E Cuts Power in North State Areas for Fire Safety Precautions

LATEST: PG&E informed customers previously that they might shut down power periodically during times of high fire danger for public safety. Many communities in Northern California are on the list of planned shut-offs for this weekend. 12 counties are on the list in this article.

Posted: Oct. 13, 2018 9:25 PM
Updated: Oct. 15, 2018 11:42 AM

UPDATE 11:22 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018 - Although PG&E has turned the power off in several Northern California counties, Butte County and Plumas County have been spared for now. PG&E officials say they may still have to turn the power off to some communities Sunday night in Butte County, dependent on weather and wind conditions.

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PG&E RESPONDS TO QUESTIONS FROM ACTION NEWS NOW

Customers who are a part of PG&E’s Medical Baseline program will get a few added layers of communication. If we don’t receive a response from an automated call, then we will conduct live calls. PG&E will also dispatch trucks and employees to knock on the doors of Medical Baseline customers who don’t respond to live calls. We know how important electric service is to our customers, especially those who depend on electricity for critical life-sustaining equipment, and we would only consider temporarily turning off power in the interest of safety, and as a last resort during extreme weather conditions.

Vulnerable customers should keep emergency numbers on hand, and are encouraged to check with local authorities regarding any cooling centers or other resources that may be available. We advise all customers to call 911 immediately if a family member experiences a medical emergency.

As far as how long power would be turned off - it’s important for all customers to have an emergency plan to be prepared for any extended outages due to extreme weather or natural disasters. It is hard to tell at this point how long the power will be turned off if a public safety power shutoff is implemented but in most cases, we would expect to be able to restore power within 24 hours. After the extreme weather has passed and it is safe to do so, our crews will work to inspect the lines – every mile of every line. Depending on conditions or if any repairs are needed, outages (weather event plus restoration time) could last between 2 to 5 days. For planning purposes, we suggest customers served by lines that run through extreme fire threat areas prepare for multiple-day outages.

We have contacted first responders in these areas to let them know about this potential safety need. We are and will continue to coordinate with local authorities and provide additional updates through social media, local news, radio, and the pge.com website.

Over the past couple months, we have met with local civic and community leaders, first responders and other public safety authorities to discuss how we could potentially coordinate on providing information to customers in the event we need to turn off power in the interest of safety, as a last resort during extreme weather conditions.

UPDATE 5:35 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018 - PG&E announced that they are turning off power for public safety in portions of several Northern California communities, including portions of Butte County.

70,000 customers will be impacted in communities in the Sierra foothills. This is the first phase of the Public Safety Power Shutoff. 

Steven Taylor of Brush Creek received a notice at 4:00 p.m. saying that his power may be shut off as soon as 5:00 p.m.  He is concerned about the welfare of a family member who uses a wheelchair and requires electricity for cooling, heating and for charging up the wheelchair. (See sidebar for message from PG&E about vulnerable customers)

The second phase, if initiated, would have PG&E cutting off power to 17,000 more customers located in Lake, Napa and Sonoma Counties.

Here is the list of the expected outages that are beginning this evening, and may last for 1-5 days.

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UPDATE 4:15 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018 - PG&E has responded to Action News Now requests to clarify how long power may be turned off to local customers if the safety shut-offs are initiated. They confirmed that power could remain off for up to five days, but they are hoping any outages would last less than 24 hours.

They also have responded to our questions about what people should do who have medical needs that require electricity. Please read the entire response from PG&E in the sidebar to this article.

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UPDATE 2:37 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14, 2017 - PG&E spokesperson Deanna Contreras told Action News Now that they still have not initiated any power shut-offs, but are ready to do so if conditions require it.

PG&E is asking customers to visit the PG&E wildfire safety page online to enter their address to find out if their home or business is served by an electric line that may be turned off for safety during high wildfire threat.

They would also like customers to update their contact information by clicking on this link, or by calling 1 (866) 743-6589 during normal business hours.

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UPDATE 1:49 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018 - Here is a statement from PG&E: PG&E is alerting customers that due to extreme fire danger conditions and other weather factors, the company may have to proactively turn off power in several northern California cities within the next 12 hours. Customers in Lake, Napa, Sonoma, Yuba, Butte, Sierra, Placer, Nevada, El Dorado, Amador, Plumas, and Calaveras Counties may be impacted. PG&E has a plan and wants to ensure customers have a plan too. For more information, please visit pge.com/wildfiresafety or call 1-800-743-5000.

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UPDATE 1:43 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018 - A PG&E spokesperson told Action News Now that they will start turning off power to the locations identified in 12 Northern California counties by approximately 2:00 p.m.

PG&E is sending automated voice messages, texts and emails to customers alerting them to the turn-off. The extreme fire danger is expected to last through Monday morning.

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NORTHERN CALIFORNIA, Calif. - Many communities in Northern California are subject to having their power turned off over the next 24 hours by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) as a public safety measure.

PG&E could take action as early as late Saturday night, Oct. 13, 2018. The power may stay off part of Sunday.

There is a wind event expected on Sunday night, lasting into Monday morning, that is of concern to PG&E officials. We will be in a period of extreme fire danger with a Red Flag Warning in place from the National Weather Service from October 13 at 11:00 p.m. until October 15 at 11:00 p.m.

Several Northern California communities are listed in the 12 counties where proactive power turnoffs are planned. The only one in our immediate coverage area is Butte County. The communities listed are:

Oroville

Berry Creek

Brush Creek

Clipper Mills

Feather Falls

Forbestown

The counties that can expect outages are:

  1. Butte County (see communities above)
  2. Plumas County (La Porte)
  3. Yuba County (Brownsville, Camptonville, Challenge, Dobbins, Marysville, Oregon House, Strawberry Valley)
  4. Napa County (Angwin, Calistoa, Deer Park, Lake Berryessa, Napa, Pope Valley, Saint Helena)
  5. Sonoma County (Cloverdale, Geyserville, Healdsburg, Santa Rosa)
  6. Lake County (Clearlake, Clearlake Oaks, Clearlake Park, Cobb, Finley, Hidden Valley Lake, Kelseyville, Lakeport, Lower Lake and Middletown)
  7. Sierra County (Alleghany, Downieville, Goodyear's Bar, Pike City, Sierra City)
  8. Placer County (Alta, Applegate, Auburn, Baxter, Colfax, Dutch Flat, Emigrant Gap, Foresthill, Gold Run, Loomis, Meadow Vista, Weimar)
  9. Nevada County (Chicago Park, Grass Valley, Nevada City, North San Juan, Penn Valley, Rough and Ready, Soda Springs, Washington)
  10. El Dorado County (Aukim, Camino, Coloma, Cool, Diamond Springs, El Dorado, Fair Play, Garden Valley, Georgetown, Greenwood, Grizzly Flats, Kelsey, Kyburz, Mount Aukum, Omo Ranch, Pacific House, Placerville, Pollock Pines, Shingle Springs, Silver Fork, Somerset, Strawberry, Twin Bridges)
  11. Amador County (Fiddletown, Jackson, Pine Grove, Pioneer, Plymouth, Sutter Creek, Volcano)
  12. Calaveras County (Glencoe, Mokelumne Hill, Mountain Ranch, Rail Road Flat, West Point, Wilseyville)

PG&E officials say they are reaching out to customers in affecting areas and to customers in those areas who are on a Medical Baseline program, who count on electric service to operate medical equipment or keep their environment temperature controlled.

PG&E is asking customers to visit the PG&E wildfire safety page online to enter their address to find out if their home or business is served by an electric line that may be turned off for safety during high wildfire threat.

They would also like customers to update their contact information by clicking on this link, or by calling 1 (866) 743-6589 during normal business hours.

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Chico
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Hazardous air quality today, a Fire Weather Watch this weekend, then rain finally returns next week
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