About 250,000 Bay Area PG&E electric customers are at risk of losing their power starting Wednesday as the utility company plans to preemptively shutdown power due to dangerous weather conditions, PG&E officials said.
The weather is expected to be dry and windy, which makes the risk of a catastrophic wildfire high, PG&E officials said. The utility company wants to shut off power so its electric equipment doesn’t start a wildfire as has happened in the past two years.
In a statement, Michael Lewis, senior vice president for PG&E’s electric operations, said, “This is shaping up to be one of the most severe dry wind events we’ve seen in our territory in recent years.”
The shutoffs, called “Public Safety Power Shutoffs,” may affect 256,996 PG&E customers in the Bay Area. If a shutoff is implemented, PG&E plans to begin turning off power early Wednesday morning, but the utility has not given an exact time.
Lewis said company officials want customers to be prepared for an outage that may last several days. Monday night, he called the situation involving the weather this week “evolving.” Power may be off for several days because after the weather improves, lines and equipment need to be inspected before power is turned back on.
Wind plays an important role in the decision and PG&E says winds are expected to be at their peak early Wednesday morning through midday Thursday. PG&E has its own meteorological team that monitors the weather.
The San Mateo County communities and cities that could be affected include Half Moon Bay, El Granada, Woodside, Moss Beach, Montara, Portola Valley, Pescadero, La Honda, Redwood City, San Gregorio, Loma Mar, San Mateo, Menlo Park, Emerald Hills, Pacifica and Princeton. In all, 14,766 San Mateo County customers may lose electricity.
PG&E officials said 32,613 customers in Alameda County could lose power including residences and businesses in Oakland, Castro Valley, Fremont, Union City, Berkeley, Hayward, San Leandro, Sunol, Pleasanton and Livermore.
In Contra Costa County, 40,219 customers may be affected. That includes customers in San Ramon, Orinda, Lafayette, Moraga, Pinole, Richmond, Kensington, Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Berkeley, Canyon, San Pablo, Pittsburg, Rodeo, Concord, Albany, Antioch and Martinez.
In Sonoma County, 66,289 customers are at risk of losing power including people and businesses in Santa Rosa, Sonoma, Petaluma, Healdsburg, Cloverdale, Glen Ellen, Penngrove, Geyserville, Kenwood, Rohnert Park, Windsor, Annapolis, Stewarts Point, Cotati, Cazadero, Guerneville, Larkfield, El Verano, Boyes Hot Springs, Fulton and Bodega Bay.
In Napa County, 32,124 customers may lose electricity, including those in Napa, St. Helena, Calistoga, Angwin, Pope Valley, Rutherford, Oakville, Deer Park, Lake Berryessa, Yountville and American Canyon.
In Santa Clara County, 38,123 residential and business customers could be without power, including those in San Jose, Morgan Hill, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Redwood Estates, Milpitas, Sunnyvale, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Coyote, Gilroy, Mount Hamilton, Palo Alto and Holy City.
Residents and businesses in the Solano County communities of Fairfield, Vacaville, Suisun City, Vallejo and Dixon may be affected. In all, 32,862 customers might lose power in those cities.
Approximately 350,000 more customers in other regions of Northern and Central California may be affected by the Public Safety Power Shutoff for a total of about 600,000 in this possible shutdown operation, according to PG&E.
The utility’s customers may be affected even though they are living in an area that isn’t affected by dangerous fire conditions because parts of the system that serve one area may originate in an area that is affected by extreme weather, PG&E officials said.
To see maps of where power outages may occur, visit pge.com/en_US/safety/emergency-preparedness/natural-disaster/wildfires/psps-event-maps.page.