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article imagePG&E to cut power to 800,000 customers due to fire danger

By Karen Graham     Oct 8, 2019 in Environment
PG&E announced Tuesday that the utility will be implementing a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) in portions of 34 counties around California starting early Wednesday because of dry and windy weather in the forecast, affecting nearly 800,000 customers.
PG&E is implementing the preemptive power shutdowns just after midnight, or around 5 a.m. Pacific Time Wednesday morning to try to avoid sparking a wildfire during a weather event that could bring winds of 40 to 55 mph, with gusts as high as 60-70 mph through midday Thursday.
ABC7 News has a complete list of the counties affected by the PSPS across Northern and Central California starting just after midnight. San Francisco is the only county in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area where power will not be affected.
Southern California Edison's website said more than 106,000 of its customers in parts of eight counties could face power cuts. As of 7 p.m. Eastern Time, the utility was still undecided on whether or not to issue the PSPS.
PG&E will also open community resource centers in various counties starting at 8 a.m. Wednesday. The centers will feature restrooms, bottled water, electronic device charging and air-conditioned seating for up to 100 people per facility.
It may take “several days to fully restore power after the weather passes and safety inspections are completed,” said Michael Lewis, senior vice president of PG&E's electric operations, in a statement, according to the Associated Press.
The National Weather Service issued a fire weather watch for Southern California that begins early Thursday morning when the winds pick up, although the region might get blustery weather as soon as Wednesday night. The hot, dry Santa Ana winds can send temperatures soaring and decrease humidity levels - creating perfect conditions for wildfires.
The same area of high pressure bringing the Santa Ana winds to Southern California will also bring winds of 40 to 55 mph, with gusts as high as 60-70 mph through midday Thursday into Central and Northern portions of the state. There will be an increased wildfire danger Tuesday night through Thursday.
More about California, PG&E, power shutoff, wildfire risk, windy and dry
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