Californians Face Year's Biggest Power Shutoffs on Fire Risk
Added 10-24-20 10:04:02pm EST - “(Bloomberg) -- Californians are facing the largest mass blackout so far this year as the state's biggest utility, PG&E Corp., prepares power shutoffs to prevent live wires from falling into dry brush and igniting wildfires with ferocious…” - Finance.yahoo.com
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(Bloomberg) -- Californians are facing the largest mass blackout so far this year as the state’s biggest utility, PG&E Corp., prepares power shutoffs to prevent live wires from falling into dry brush and igniting wildfires with ferocious winds sweeping across the region.
The company is planning to cut power to 386,000 homes and businesses -- an estimated 1.2 million people -- across Northern California starting at 10 a.m. Sunday, company officials said at a press briefing late Saturday. The outages are poised to hit 38 counties that include the San Francisco Bay area, the Sierra Nevada foothills, the Central Valley and the Central Coast. A final decision on the blackout will be made Sunday morning.
Edison International’s Southern California Edison said 56,500 customers could lose power -- affecting about 170,000 people.
The potential blackouts would be the latest blow for a state that’s been battered by extreme weather and has already seen a record 4.1 million acres (1.66 million hectares) scorched this year. PG&E has preemptively cut power four times in 2020 to prevent falling wires from igniting blazes in a region that’s tinder dry from heat and drought. The new round of outages would be the biggest by far, stretching across 38 counties.
Winds starting this weekend are forecast to reach 70 miles (113 kilometers) per hour in the northern part of the state, with gusts expected to last through Tuesday morning. By Monday, humidity will be as low as 6% in Redding and just 5% in Grass Valley, according to the National Weather Service. It comes as the state is already riddled with dry brush and grasses due to the hottest average temperatures over the last six months, according to records that go back 126 years, said Scott Strenfel, PG&E’s head of meteorology and fire science.
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