California utility cuts power to massive areas in Northern, Central California

California utility cuts power to massive areas in Northern, Central California

PG&E will not begin restoring power until the severe weather has passed, and is thus asking customers to brace for an "extended outage" that could last several days.

Areas in which PG&E expects they will turn off the power Wednesday morning, October 9, 2019.

PG&E defended its decision to proactively cut power to its customers. A PG&E meteorologist said that wind in portions of the Redding area hit 50 miles per hour today. "This is because the electric system relies on power lines working together to provide electricity across cities, counties and regions", reads the press release.

The National Weather Service in Hanford issued a high wind watch for the Kern County Mountains and desert areas from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m. Wednesday.

The south of California may also face outages in coming days, with the Southern California Edison provider warning that it might cut power to almost 174,000 customers in nine counties, including Los Angeles.

By Thursday, PG&E had restored power to some areas, reducing the number of people in the dark to about 1.5 million.

Nearly all home solar systems are tied into the local power company's power grid, so the customer can feed solar back into the system and get paid for the electricity their solar panels produce.

In anticipation of the event, Foothill College's main campus and Sunnyvale Center will be closed Wednesday, the school announced on its Facebook account.

Many schools and universities were closing due the power outages.

Finally, customers furthest south of PG&E's service area will also be affected.

If you have a backup generator, please do a safety check and make sure you have enough fuel to last a few days.

Dry conditions, very low humidity and gusting winds indicate a high potential for fire danger, according to the weather service.

But these systems are turned off when utility power is out. Thursday, the blackouts will continue until the wind risk subsides.

Power lines were blamed for one of the worst fire seasons in 2017 and 2018 after dozens of wildfires across the state burned hundreds of thousands of acres, leaving dozens dead and thousands more homeless.

"This is what PG&E thinks is in the best interest of their customers and ultimately for this region and the state", the governor said, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The utility said a third round of outages is still being considered, but says it will not impact as many customers as originally anticipated.

People can find out if their area is affected by visiting PG&E's website.

PG&E has estimated that some 800,000 customers would have their power unplugged during the outage. People who need powered medical equipment or refrigerated medicines were urged to contact their providers.

PG&E is advising its customers to ensure they have sufficient supplies of emergency items like medicines, first aid supplies, flash lights and batteries. "We have vulnerable populations, our elderly and young children". Information and tips including a safety plan checklist are available at pge.com/psps. "PG&E has not given a time frame yet, but it could be as long as five days". "A red flag means you better be prepared".

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