US

Historic PG&E Outage Affects Millions

By Ilene Eng

Calif.—On Tuesday, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&Eannounced it will cut power to thousands of customers in Northern California due to dry and windy weather forecasts, causing fire hazards.

It’s the electric company’s first time conducting such a large-scale shutdown.

Electricity was shut off to nearly 750,000 California homes and workplaces on Wednesday. More than a million people were affected.

“We are implementing the public safety power shutoffs as a measure to protect the Historic PG&E Outage Affects Thousands from any kind of wildfire threat from PG&E equipment,” said Mark Mesesan, PG&E spokesperson.

Some stores and schools in districts and are closed today.

This high school in San Leandro is closed for the day after learning of PG&E’s power outage on Oct. 9, 2019. (Ilene. Eng/NTD)

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) will still run. Other transit services like Caltrain and SamTrans say the outage will not impact their operations.

The electric company says the Public Safety Power Shutoff will be done in three phases.

During the first phase, power will be shutting down in northern areas like Butte, Napa, Marin, Shasta, and Sonoma counties.

In the second phase, customers in Bay Area counties like Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz were flagged to shut down around noon today.

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

According to the PG&E spokesperson, they hope to restore power at least within 24-48 hours.

“We have helicopters, ground crews, people on the ground that will be inspecting every foot of our wires and our electric components to make sure that there’s no damage. If there is damage, that could possibly extend the length of the outage,” said Mesesan.

As of now, there is no exact date as to when power will be restored, but people can expect this to last for several days.

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