To prevent wildfires, PG&E might shut off power for Bay Area customers

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Wildfires destroyed communities across California and now, PG&E customers could have their power shut off during fire season, so power lines don’t spark more flames.

“We do anticipate that this could happen several times this year,” said Jeff Smith with the utility company.

Smith told KRON4 the Public Safety Power Shut Off Program could impact all of PG&E’s five million electric customers, especially residents in areas with higher fire threat.

Because of the web of the power grid, no matter where you are, a blackout could come this summer.

The decision of when to turn off the power involves a variety of factors, including the combination of red flag warnings, low humidity, high winds and super dry conditions.

PG&E wants give 48 hour notice before a planned blackout, which could last approximately two to five days.

“We want it back in the first 48 hours,” Smith said. “We want our customers to be prepared for a multiple day outage.”

To turn the power back on, crews will need to inspect every inch of line in the impacted area.

Whether that is by drone, helicopter or on foot, people seem to support the plan now, all in the name of safety. PG&E insists it will make the determination to turn power off thoughtfully.

“There are risk on both sides of doing this and not doing this, Smith said. “It has the potential to have impact on our customers, we don’t take that lightly

To get the power shut off alerts from PG&E, click here.

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