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Pacific Gas and Electric warns of potential second power cuts in California

Christian Fernsby |

KEY POINTS
  • Pacific Gas and Electric said that over 200,000 customers could be left without power
  • Advance notice has been sent to those who might be affected by the shut-off in 15 counties in the Sierra Foothills and the North Bay
  • This could be the second time within two weeks that Pacific Gas and Electric would enforce an intentional power blackout in those counties

California utility Pacific Gas and Electric company warned Monday that it would cut power again to hundreds of thousands of customers in Northern California later this week to prevent possible wildfires.

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Topics: PACIFIC GAS AND ELECTRIC     POWER    CALIFORNIA   

Pacific Gas and Electric said that over 200,000 customers could be left without power beginning Wednesday evening due to dry, fast winds blowing into Northern California.

Advance notice has been sent to those who might be affected by the shut-off in 15 counties in the Sierra Foothills and the North Bay, said the utility.

This could be the second time within two weeks that Pacific Gas and Electric would enforce an intentional power blackout in those counties, with each power outage lasting about 48 hours.

Pacific Gas and Electric was criticized for its last decision to carry out extensive shut-offs that affected more than 738,000 customers in over 30 California counties starting Oct. 9.

National Weather Service authorities have forecast that this week would be sunny and warm, but risks of wildfires are high due to dry and gusty winds, especially in mountainous regions.

"Gusts of 35-45 mph (56-67.5 km per hour) have been forecast for some North Bay counties, with some localized areas expected to experience 55 mph (88 km per hour) gusts," Pacific Gas and Electric said.

Michael Lewis, senior vice president of Pacific Gas and Electric Electric Operations, said that sustained winds above 45 mph (67.5 km per hour) can damage the company's lower-voltage distribution system and winds above 50 mph (80 km per hour) are capable of destroying higher-voltage transmission equipment.

On Monday, Pacific Gas and Electric suggested on social media that patients who rely on electric or battery-dependent medical equipment such as breathing machines, power wheelchairs or home oxygen or dialysis devices to make prior plans for an extended power outage.


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