PG&E has warned that around 250,000 residents could be out of power due to strong winds. A Public Safety Power Shutoff could affect around 19 counties as strong winds continue to rock the state. PG&E is shutting off the power to minimize the risks of wildfires.
Affected areas in California include North Valley, Sierra Foothills, Butte, Mendocino, Nevada, Sonoma, and North Bay, among others. However, some Bay Area parts will be exempt from the shutdown.
PG&E cautious of strong winds that can cause sparking
According to forecasts, the winds could reach speeds of up 25 miles per hour with gusts of between 30 and 50 mph. Currently, there is a lot of dry vegetation, and fire weather watches being issued. Also, the temperatures are above average at between 5 and 15 degrees at this time.
The PG&E started the implementation of PSPS this fire season as a way of minimizing fires resulting from power equipment. The measures involve shutting down electricity to prevent fires that might result during dry and windy conditions. Usually, power lines above ground toppled by the strong winds can cause sparkling that can result in wildfires.
PG&E, which serves over 5 million customers in the state and the roll-out of the power outages, already has affected several areas this fire season. Last month PG&E had a shutdown that affected over 800,000 consumers in North California.
Consumers to get updates from PG&E about affected areas
The utility has indicated that it will inform customers through phone, text, or email on the affected areas. Customers under the Medical Baseline program that will not have confirmed if they are aware of the shutdown will receive a visit from a PG&E employee. PG&E is encouraging consumers to get updates from the PSPS to know if their area is among the affected areas.
In September, the PG&E announced a settlement of $11 billion with insurance companies for claims resulting from the 2017 and 2018 fires. Also, in June, it had paid $1 billion to local government in damages for blazes associated with their power equipment.