NAPA COUNTY (CBS SF/AP) — Thousands of people in the North Bay were still without power Wednesday following Pacific Gas & Electric’s latest Public Safety Power Shutoff.
Tuesday evening, PG&E began shutting off power to customers in 18 Northern California counties to prevent wildfires for the first time since last year’s historically bad fire season.
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The nation’s largest utility announced the blackouts as a precaution to prevent wind gusts from damaging power lines and sparking blazes.
Though originally included in the PSPS area, customers in Alameda County and Contra Costa County in the end were not impacted due to changing weather conditions.
Most of the outages were in Napa County with nearly 6,900 customers impacted. Sonoma County had 1,864 customers affected, while Solano County had 1,093 customers without power as of late Wednesday morning, according to utility officials.
Public Safety Power Shutoffs: Find if Your Address is Affected
The utility said the shutoffs were focused in the Sierra Nevada foothills, the North Coast, the northern Central Valley and the North San Francisco Bay mountains. They were projected to last into Wednesday afternoon.
PG&E crews must inspect lines for possible damage prior to re-energizing.
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On Tuesday night, the western side of Calistoga was in the dark as the town coped with dangerous fire conditions.
Rancho de Calistoga is a mobile home park for seniors and it’s been hit hard by the outages. Residents had hoped they wouldn’t be left in the dark again.
“Here we go again,” said resident Renate Schreiner.
She and her neighbors are very familiar with Public Safety Power Shutoffs.
“I thought it would be later in the season but with this weather and dryness. I’d rather take that than the fire. Believe me,” said Schreiner.
While a large microgrid provides power to the the City of Calistoga east of the Napa River, those to the west lost power. It went off earlier than expected around 6:30 p.m.
PG&E has notified utility regulators that the Dixie fire may have been caused by trees falling into its power lines. The Dixie Fire began near the town of Paradise, which was devastated by a 2018 wildfire ignited by PG&E equipment during strong winds. In that fire, 85 people died.
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