US: Fire danger threatens power to 800,000 across California - - PressFrom - US
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US Fire danger threatens power to 800,000 across California

13:11  23 october  2019
13:11  23 october  2019 Source:   nbcnews.com

California regulator sanctions utility over power outages

  California regulator sanctions utility over power outages SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California's utility regulator is issuing a series of sanctions against Pacific Gas and Electric for what it calls "failures in execution" during the largest planned power shut-off in state history to avoid wildfires. California Public Utilities Commission President Marybel Batjer says the utility must have a goal of restoring power within 12 hours instead of its current 48 hours, minimize the scale of outages and improve communication.PG&E last week took the unprecedented step of cutting power to more than 700,000 customers, affecting nearly 2 million Californians.

More than 800 , 000 people in Northern California will have their power shut off Tuesday night as the fear of wildfires grows. The risk has sparked concerns over whether California is sufficiently prepared for a blaze — particularly after last year's Camp Fire , which became the state's deadliest

Fire danger puts 800 , 000 PG&E customers at risk… OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 8: A flock of birds rest on power lines in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019. PG&E announced a power shutdown that will affect nearly 800 , 000 customers due to dry and windy weather conditions to

LOS ANGELES — California utilities warned Tuesday that more than three-quarters of a million people could lose power across the state Wednesday and Thursday if they have to shut off electricity to protect against wildfires sparked by their equipment.

Image: Paradise fire© Josh Edelson Image: Paradise fire

And yet another widespread blackout could be needed next week, they said.

With hot, dry Santa Ana winds forecast, Pacific Gas and Electric Corp., or PG&E, the state's largest electric utility, was alerting 189,000 customers in the northern part of the state by phone, text and email that it might have to turn off their power beginning Wednesday.

101 Freeway reopened in Santa Barbara County after closure from brush fire

  101 Freeway reopened in Santa Barbara County after closure from brush fire A wind-driven 50-acre brush fire burning west of Santa Barbara on Thursday afternoon prompted evacuations and the closure of a section of the 101 Freeway. The Real fire is burning east of the El Capitan campground. Residents were ordered to evacuate about 5:30 p.m. from homes along the coast between Dos Pueblos Canyon and Gaviota, about 30 miles west of Santa Barbara. The Real fire is burning east of the El Capitan campground.

Diablo winds sweeping across arid Northern California "historically are the events that cause the most destructive wildfires in California history," said Southern and eastern parts of San Jose are expected to see their power cut. Although PG&E says only 38, 000 San Jose accounts will be affected, that

California 's largest utility says it could shut off power to 500, 000 people this week for two days or longer While the outages will impact 800 , 000 PG & E accounts, many more actual individuals could be In Southern California : Hillside brush fire in Los Angeles threatens affluent Pacific Palisades

In the southern part of the state, Southern California Edison said it was monitoring more than 162,000 customers for a potential power shutoff beginning Thursday.

A power "customer" can be a single residence or a large business; a standard conversion that many utilities use assesses 2½ people per customer, meaning as many as 875,000 people could be affected across the state by the rolling blackouts.

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Mark Quinlan, PG&E's senior director for emergency preparedness and response, noted at a news conference Tuesday that the projected outage area in Northern California was smaller than the company had warned on Monday, when it said as many as 209,000 customers could be affected.

Brush fire in Pacific Palisades threatens homes

  Brush fire in Pacific Palisades threatens homes Firefighters were battling a fast-moving brush fire that was threatening homes in Pacific Palisades. © KTLA Los Angeles fire crews are responding to a roughly one-acre brush fire burning uphill near the 500 block of North Palisades Drive in Pacific Palisades. Los Angeles firefighters responded about 10:40 a.m. to a brush fire around 500 N. Palisades Drive. The terrain-driven fire has burned one acre and is moving uphill toward homes, according to Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey. The homes threatened were on Charmel Lane, where the fire was running up a hill.

With much of California under high fire risk, PG&E says could begin precautionary blackouts to parts of 16 counties Strong winds are creating high fire danger in Southern California . Now utility companies are Pacific Gas & Electric began notifying 209, 000 customers across 16 counties Monday that their

Residents in 16 California counties have been warned that Wednesday may bring more intentional power shutoffs to over 200, 000 customers. The announcement comes less than a month after utility company Pacific Gas & Electric cut off power for several days to nearly 800 , 000 customers across

But "the forecast continues to show the potential for hot, dry, windy weather," he said, saying final decisions would likely come Wednesday morning.

It would be the second massive blackout in the nation's most populous state in just two weeks, after PG&E shut off power to almost 2 million people in rolling blackouts beginning Oct. 9.

To make matters worse, Bill Johnson, PG&E's chief executive, said the company was monitoring another "weather event" that could trigger rolling blackouts over the weekend or next week.

"It's being worked on," he said.

The utility was widely criticized for the relative lack of notice it gave customers earlier this month, when heavy user volume crashed its website for long periods, keeping customers from blackout and safety updates.

The company set up a separate website to handle the crush of visitors this time — but it went down for about 45 minutes Tuesday morning, Johnson said. Customers were being directed back to the utility's main website, pge.com.

A new round of PG&E power outages could put 500,000 Californians in the dark for days

  A new round of PG&E power outages could put 500,000 Californians in the dark for days California's largest utility says it could shut off power to 500,000 people this week as wildfires again threaten to bring havoc to 15 counties.The warning addressed residents in 15 counties, most in the Sierra foothills and the San Francisco Bay area. It came less than two weeks after gusty winds, high temperatures and parched conditions forced Pacific Gas & Electric to shut off power to 2 million people, many for several days.

As dangerous fire weather builds Wednesday and Thursday, more than 200, 000 customers could The fire danger will rise thanks to northeasterly winds and plummeting humidity beginning late Conditions will improve some into the weekend for Northern and central California , and by early next

A huge portion of California is under high fire risk amid unpredictable gusts and soaring temperatures. At least three homes were damaged or destroyed Monday evening by wind-whipped flames in a mountain community near San Bernardino in inland Southern California .

At Village True Value Hardware in Santa Rosa, in Sonoma County, manager Kim Scheffer was exasperated as she again directed customers to gas cans and batteries.

"I think it's not panic per se — just, 'eh, we've got to do this again?'" Scheffer told NBC affiliate KSEE of Fresno.

In a letter to PG&E on Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom repeated that the company's need for fire-prevention blackouts and its performance during the earlier power shutoff were "unacceptable," blaming "decades of PG&E prioritizing profit over public service" for its failure to maintain and upgrade its equipment.

Newsom again demanded that PG&E reimburse customers for lost business, housing alternatives or spoiled food and medicines. Like other utilities, PG&E says it doesn't compensate customers for blackouts needed for safety reasons.

Johnson, the chief executive, appeared to soften somewhat on that position Tuesday.

With a significant shutoff "right in front of us, and we have a potential one right behind it, you can imagine we are focused on those things," Johnson said.

California gets ready for more wildfires and power outages as the weather refuses to cooperate

  California gets ready for more wildfires and power outages as the weather refuses to cooperate Just as firefighters got a grip on a blaze that tore through the swanky Pacific Palisades, other Californians are at risk of unpredictable wildfires this week. About 209,000 customers could have their power shut off this week mitigate the risk, Pacific Gas & Electric said."The potential safety shutoff is planned for varying start times depending on location beginning Wednesday evening," the company said.

California 's largest utility says it could shut off power to 500, 000 people this week as wildfires again threaten to bring havoc to 15 counties. A new round of PG&E power outages could put 500, 000 Californians in the dark for days. California 's largest utility says it could shut off power to 500, 000

About 5, 000 firefighters are batting 14 different fires across the state, Cal Fire said Sunday. One of the most dangerous is the Whittier Fire in Santa Barbara County in coastal Southern California , which threatened children at a summer camp and has forced about 3,500 people to leave their homes

"Haven't had a lot of time to think about this. I'm thinking about it. I am considering his request," he said.

While Johnson said compensating customers would be "inconsistent with history here with the public policy," he said that "when we get done with fire season and we can quit just thinking in 24-hour increments, there's a time to have a policy discussion about the right answer."

"So we're not rejecting it, but we have more immediate things" to worry about, he said.

Because California's winter fire season runs from October to April, Johnson's timetable means discussions on compensation couldn't begin until well into next spring.

Johnson said agreeing to compensation could further complicate bankruptcy proceeding for PG&E, which faces huge liabilities from its role in several highly destructive fires that burned hundreds of thousands of acres of Northern California in 2017 and 2018.

More than 80 people were killed last year in one of the blazes, which was dubbed the Camp Fire. The company could be on the hook for up to $18 billion in financial damages at a scheduled trial over its responsibility in the Camp Fire and other devastating wildfires going back to 2017.

Man helped guide drivers off I-5 near Natomas as grass fire approached .
A grass fire along I-5 near Natomas on Sunday torched cars and left several others scrambling to escape the fast-approaching flames. One good Samaritan, Gerald Contreras, had the presence of mind to help guide drivers away from the flames at a break in the fence along the interstate. He was also able to record the escape at the same time. “The median actually caught fire and I think that's what scared a lot of people," Contreras recalled." "So,One good Samaritan, Gerald Contreras, had the presence of mind to help guide drivers away from the flames at a break in the fence along the interstate. He was also able to record the escape at the same time.

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