PG&E’s possible PSPS could impact thousands in Bay Area

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — Pacific Gas & Electric is monitoring this weekend’s forecast that may call for a Public Safety Power Shutoff which will impact almost half a million customers across Northern and Central California.

PG&E’s emergency operations center, meteorology team and wildfire safety operations center are working together and tracking a significant, offshore wind event beginning Sunday.

The forecast is expected to have the driest humidity levels and the strongest winds of the wildfire season thus far.

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Extremely dry, windy conditions with high gusts pose an increased risk for damage to the electric system that has the potential to ignite fires in areas with critically dry vegetation.

In the Bay Area, more than 143,700 customers could be impacted by the PSPS.

Below is a list of Bay Area customers who could potentially be affected by this PSPS event:

  • Alameda County: 39,401 customers, 1,483 Medical Baseline customers
  • Contra Costa County: 20,148 customers, 957 Medical Baseline customers
  • Marin County: 19,626 customers, 608 Medical Baseline customers
  • Napa County: 15,598 customers, 510 Medical Baseline customers
  • San Mateo County: 4,458 customers, 120 Medical Baseline customers
  • Santa Clara County: 4,770 customers, 238 Medical Baseline customers
  • Solano County: 1,606 customers, 100 Medical Baseline customers
  • Sonoma County: 38,120 customers, 2,111 Medical Baseline customers

A total of 466,093 customers may be affected across Northern and Central California.

Roughly 16,500 customers in the Lamorinda area are expected to be impacted by the public safety power shutoff. Expected to last from Sunday at 4 p.m. through Wednesday.

The cities of Moraga, Lafayette and Orinda sent out Nixle alerts notifying PG&E customers about planned power shutoffs.

Residents in Orinda say they have not had their power turned off this year yet but were in the dark for days around this time last year.

How Stephanie Barmmer plans to get ready.

“We have a generator we plug in at night, it’s loud, to power our second refrigerator in the garage. We move a lot of our meats and stuff and it powers our TV and then I load a lot of other things from my main refrigerator into a couple big coolers,” Barmmer said.

But she plans to leave town to avoid it all.

“My reaction this morning was one of frustration. Sort of having post-traumatic from last year from when we were off for like five days. We have a house in Tahoe so we told our kids we are heading up to Tahoe we’re not going to live through no power,” Barmmer said.

A high wind event and critical fire weather is expected Sunday. Winds strong enough to blow down trees and power lines on already dry vegetation.

Doreen Rau plans to stay home in Orinda but is not happy about the situation.

“It’s inconceivable to me that a company like PG&E has been allowed to go on neglecting the infrastructure for so long that now every time the wind blows they have to turn the power off,” Rau said. 

Residents are advised to plan ahead by preparing an emergency kit – flashlights, extra batteries and storing water and non-perishable foods.

Rau is a member of the fires community that helps create defensible space in the neighborhood to become more resistant to wildfire damage.

“We have a to-go bag that is packed and ready to go all the time,” Rau said. “My husband who has been working from home will be going into Oakland to the office and I’ll be at home hoping we don’t catch on fire.”

If Orinda experiences a PSPS, the city plans to have a generator at the library where people can charge their phones and electronics.

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