Santa Rosa feeling the pain of power shut offs

PG&E Power Shutoffs

SANTA ROSA (KRON) — When the power went out in Santa Rosa Wednesday morning the city didn’t know it was happening until an emergency generator kicked on.

PG&E is cutting power to customers in 34 counties as dry, gusty winds create dangerous wildfires conditions including thousands in Sonoma County.

KRON4’s Ken Wayne talked to Santa Rosa’s Mayor Tom Schwedhelm who is hearing the frustrations from city residents and from his own staff as to when and where the blackouts are happening.

Schwedhelm says he is frustrated with the information they are getting out of PG&E. In a briefing Tuesday night the Mayor was told shut offs were to start at midnight and they were not told where the power would go out.

Mayor Schwedhelm also said power outages at certain intersections led to a number of traffic accidents.

Sonoma County residents expressed frustration to KRON4 News that the power was turned off long before any real danger.

Fran Tett says “it is stupid, it is premature by the same token I understand they want to take precaution but come on there is not even a breeze.”

Santa Rosa Junior College is closed Thursday.

Sonoma State University is shut down for the rest of the week.

Residents in Sonoma in California’s wine country are swarming to the few businesses opened in the town’s square amid a power outage expected to last for days – a bakery with lines out the door and a bar lit with lanterns.

Pacific Gas and shut off power to more than half a million customers in Northern California in the biggest planned shut off in the state’s history. The utility said Wednesday it is trying to prevent its equipment from starting wildfires during hot, windy weather.

At the Basque Boulangerie Cafe, workers used battery-powered lights and kept track of cash-only sales by listing them on a sheet of paper. John Vitale says he was happy to find out the cafe had opened after employees prepared the outage by baking bread and pastries.

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