UPDATE: TUESDAY, OCT. 8: Wildfire weather alerts in Northern California have caused many schools to cancel classes and a utility company to shut off power to thousands of customers starting around midnight Wednesday.
In a press release, Pacific Gas & Electric Company says it will cut its power to about 800,000 customers in Shasta, Tehama and 28 other counties. It says surrounding counties could also be impacted if its equipment is damaged by strong winds, including Humboldt County.
The investor-owned company is shutting power to much of Northern California to prevent its equipment from starting a wildfire during strong, dry winds; the kind of weather that fueled massive, deadly wildfires in recent years.
PG&E has opened shelters across the region to help people who need electricity.
The Redding Electric Utility says it will not conduct a power shutoff.
Many schools have canceled classes in anticipation of the outages, including most schools in Shasta County. Visit your school’s website for updated information on class cancellations.
In a press release, Cal Fire says it’s preparing firefighters for what will likely be the strongest offshore winds to occur so far this season.
ORIGINAL POST: MONDAY, OCT. 7: Pacific Gas & Electric Company announced Monday that it’s planning a widespread power outage this week due to high winds.
The investor-owned utility says it plans to shut off power to 30 of California’s 58 counties on Wednesday and Thursday due to high winds triggering a Fire Weather Watch in Northern California.
Fire agencies issued the fire weather warning because they’re expecting strong, dry winds across the region, including in Shasta, Tehama and Mendocino counties.
“This is a hardship on everybody,” Congressman Doug La Malfa says, who represents much of the planned outage area. “I’ve talked to constituents about that. It’s a hardship for their businesses, their homes.”
LaMalfa adds that many people cannot afford generators. He suggests people check in with their neighbors who might need help, especially seniors and people with disabilities.
PG&E has also warned customers about the potential dangers of operating generators.
Utilities are increasingly relying on power shut-offs to prevent their equipment from starting fires.
Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed legislation requiring utilities to give advance notice to hospitals and emergency responders before these shut-offs occur.
PG&E had given just 24 hours notice of a planned outage in Northern California earlier this year.
The utility is asking customers to update their contact information through its website or by calling 866-743-6589 to receive updated alerts.