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US PG&E shutting off power to 450,000 people in Northern California

19:35  20 november  2019
19:35  20 november  2019 Source:   latimes.com

California regulators to open inquiry into power outages

  California regulators to open inquiry into power outages California regulators will vote Wednesday on whether to open an investigation into pre-emptive power outages that blacked out large parts of the state for much of October as strong winds sparked fears of wildfires. The state’s largest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., initiated multiple rounds of shut-offs that plunged nearly 2.5 million people into darkness throughout northern and central California. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File) 2/4 SLIDES © Provided by The Associated Press FILE - In this Oct. 18, 2019, file photo, Pacific Gas and Electric Company workmen bury utility lines in Paradise, Calif.

LOS ANGELES — About 450,000 people will be without power starting at 7 a.m. Wednesday as dry weather and strong winds roll through Northern California, increasing the risk of fires.

A charred utility pole lies amid burned machinery along Chalk Hill Road near Healdsburg, Calif., on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019. PG&E is shutting off power to about 450,000 in northern California.© Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times/TNS A charred utility pole lies amid burned machinery along Chalk Hill Road near Healdsburg, Calif., on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019. PG&E is shutting off power to about 450,000 in northern California.

The number of affected customers was cut in half from Pacific Gas & Electric’s original estimates, affecting 18 counties. The shutoffs will begin with Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Solano and portions of Sonoma and Yolo counties, the utility giant said.

California crisis of fires, blackouts decades in the making

  California crisis of fires, blackouts decades in the making The utility that serves more than 5 million electrical customers in one of the world’s most technologically advanced areas is now faced again and again with a no-win decision: risk starting catastrophic deadly wildfires, or turn off the lights and immiserate millions of paying customers. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

North valleys, including Shasta and portions of Tehema counties, will see shutoffs starting at 8 a.m. The northern Sierra foothills, including Butte and Plumas counties, may experience shutoffs as late as 4 p.m.

Customers can learn when they are expected to lose power on PG&E’s website. The utility said it expects to restore electricity by the end of the day Thursday.

Fire danger across the region is expected through Thursday morning, with a red flag warning in place, as a low-pressure system descends into Southern California, bringing the first rain and snow of the season.

Wind gusts in Northern California may reach 55 mph, with humidity levels in the teens, according to the National Weather Service. Overnight conditions aren’t expected to lessen fire risks, forecasters said.

California’s wildfire, blackout crisis: Who’s to blame?

  California’s wildfire, blackout crisis: Who’s to blame? The utility that serves more than 5 million electrical customers in one of the world’s most technologically advanced areas is now faced again and again with a no-win decision: risk starting catastrophic deadly wildfires, or turn off the lights and immiserate millions of paying customers. Pacific Gas & Electric is in bankruptcy, facing $30 billion in liabilities, billions more in needed upgrades to its system and an uncertain path to safely providing reliable power to a vast portion of California.

PG&E said in a statement late Tuesday there has been more uncertainty with the strength, timing and humidity levels of this weather system, but peak winds should subside by mid-morning Thursday.

The same low-pressure system’s movement is causing the opposite problem in Southern California. Though meteorologists say the risk is low, rain always brings a potential for devastating mudslides in recently burned areas.

Flash flood watches are in place in the mountains, coast and valleys of San Diego County, as well as large parts of the Inland Empire, the weather service said.

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©2019 Los Angeles Times

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PG&E says its distribution lines caused no deadly fires in 2019 .
PG&E says its distribution lines caused no deadly fires in 2019The company also said it found 218 instances of damage from wind or falling vegetation that could have caused wildfires if it had not taken the controversial step of shutting power to millions of customers during high winds in late October.

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