California wildfire risk prompts planned mass cutoff of PG&E power

PG&E Warns 645,000 May Go Dark in Biggest Planned Blackout Yet

Northern California's largest utility provider confirmed Tuesday afternoon that it will "proactively" turn off power for almost 800,000 customers-including an unknown number in Morgan Hill-as a forecast of high winds moves onto the coast.

Pacific Gas and Electric says it expects to begin shutting down power in some areas starting just after Wednesday midnight.

The power outages could last several days, PG&E said.

In May, state fire investigators determined that PG&E transmission lines caused the deadliest and most destructive wildfire on record in California, the wind-driven Camp Fire that killed 85 people in and around the town of Paradise previous year. They all occurred during periods of gusty wind and low humidity.

Due to the forecasted extreme weather conditions, PG&E is considering proactively turning off power for safety, implementing PSPS across approximately 30 counties.

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Affected customers include some residents and businesses of Morgan Hill and other areas of Santa Clara County, according to PG&E's map of the anticipated impact area. Based on the weather forecast that calls for dry winds with gusts in some areas up to 45 miles per hour coupled with low humidity, hot temperatures and heavy fuel conditions (weed growth and dry vegetation), PG&E is prepared to pull the plug on power in areas where peak winds will start early Wednesday morning and last through mid-Thursday afternoon.

It took the utility less than a day to restore power to customers during a three-county shut-off it performed last weekend and during another in September, the company said in a statement. CCHS will continue to provide services during the outage.

NOTICE: PG&E is now experiencing a delay in accessing web pages related to Public Safety Power Shut-off.

Regulators have identified downed PG&E power lines as the cause of the Camp Fire in November 2018 in Paradise, the deadliest wildfire in the state's history.

PG&E will use this information to alert customers through automated calls, texts, and emails, when possible, prior to, and during, a Public Safety Power Shutoff.

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