US Millions in California may be in the dark for a week if PG&E shuts off power due to fire potential, San Jose mayor says
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Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) announced Monday it may shut off power this week in nearly 30 northern California counties in response to strong and dry winds posing a fire threat.
"We would encourage residents and businesses to prepare for being without power for potentially as long as seven days," San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said in a press conference Monday night.
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Nearly 2 million people could be affected if there is a shutdown Wednesday, Liccardo said, as well as about 67 schools.
The public safety power shutoff would span across northern, central, coastal and Bay Area counties, the utility company. PG&E it's "probable" that its equipment started the 2018 Camp Fire -- California's deadliest and most destructive blaze -- when a power line touched nearby trees.
An investigation by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protectionfor the fire, which killed 85 people and destroyed thousands of structures.
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The National Weather Service issued a Fire Weather Watch for Wednesday through Thursday across northern portions of California, warning of "potential of rapid spread of fire" andand relatively low humidity.
"This has the potential to be the strongest offshore wind event of the year," the weather service. "The time to prepare is now."
The city of San Jose had been preparing for a similar event since June, the mayor said.
"Some of what we need to do to get ready will in fact take years," he said. "That is ensuring we have sufficient backup power generation, establishing microgrids where we can do so, things of that nature."
In the meantime, he urged residents to shelter in place, as street lights and signals will not be working in the event of a power shutoff. He also encouraged households to create emergency plans and kits which include food and water for all family members and pets.
Late last month, PG&E shut off power to more than 48,000 northern California customers in precaution following dry and windy conditions. It was the second consecutive public safety power shutoff in that week, after the company had previously left about 24,000 customers across three northern California counties in the dark.
On September 13,with insurance companies for claims stemming from the devastating 2017 wildfires across northern California and the 2018 Camp Fire.
And in June, PG&E paid $1 billion in damages to local governments for blazes linked to its power lines and other equipment.
Do California power shutoffs work? Hard to know, experts say .
Millions of Californians spent part of the week in the dark in an unprecedented effort by the state's large electrical utilities to prevent another devastating wildfire. It was the fifth time Pacific Gas & Electric Co. has pre-emptively cut the power but by far the largest to date in the utility's effort to prevent a deadly wildfire sparked by its power lines. But do the power shut-offs actually prevent fires?Experts say it's hard to know what might have happened had the power stayed on, or if the utility's proactive shutoffs are to thank for California's mild fire season this year.
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California regulators on Thursday approved allowing utilities to cut off electricity to possibly hundreds of thousands of customers to ...
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