California's Largest Utility to Shut Off Power to 800,000 Customers Due to Wildfire Risk – Gizmodo,

California's Largest Utility to Shut Off Power to 800,000 Customers Due to Wildfire Risk – Gizmodo,

The Ranch Fire in Clearlake Oaks, California in August 2018.
Photo: Josh Edelson (AP)

Power shutoffs are slated to hit customers in 34 of California’s 58 counties between Wednesday morning and Thursday afternoon due tohigh risk of wildfires, with utility company Pacific Gas and Electricity (PG&E) saying it expectedn early 800, 000 Customersto be affected.

In what PG&E referred to as a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS), customers in northern, central, and coastal California will start seeing outages as soon as just after midnight on Wednesday morning. Electricity will be shut off in stages, beginning with northern California and progressively spreading “depending on local timing of the severe wind conditions.” The utility expects that peak wind will begin on Wednesday morning through midday Thursday, reaching “40 to 55 mph, with isolated gusts up to 60 to 70 mph. ”

According to theWall Street Journal, PG&E made the decision in response to predictions of strong, dry winds across northern California, raising the risk of more of the wildfires that haveravaged the state in recent years. While rural areas such as Sierra Nevada foothills will be the most impacted, the Journal wrote, California wine country as well as parts of Berkeley, Oakland, and San Jose will see power shutoffs.

800, 000 is almost certainly an underestimate in terms of individuals impacted, according to theSan Francisco Chronicle, as each “customer” could be anything from a residential household or an apartment complex to a business. All told, the number who might lose electricity could easily be in the millions.

PG&E electrical transmission lines were implicated in the devastatingNovember (Camp Fire), which killed 85 civilians as it burned through over 150, 000 acres in Butte County in the northern part of the state, as well as 18 others throughout 2017 and 2018. The companyfiled for bankruptcyat the beginning of the year, saying its liabilities could reach $ 30 billion from 5, 600 fire victims alleging damage as a result of wildfires sparked by its equipment. PG&E is now facing a>catastrophic credibility crisisin the state government, largely due to reports itknew in advanceits poorly maintained equipment posed a severe fire risk and ditched its obligatio ns toclear lines of tree hazards.

That perhaps explains why PG&E is the “only utility in the nation” to pursue such large-scale power cutoffs, according to the Journal, whereas Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric are shutting off fewer customers.

However, the outages have infuriated customers and alarmed state officials who say PG&E has repeatedly blindsided California residents with sudden cutoffs, including vulnerable populations reliant on power. Stanford University Woods Institute climate and energy program head Michael Wara told the Journal he estimated the cost of a two-day shutoff to 800, 000 residential and commercial customers at around $ 2.5 billion. Disruption is expected to be severe, with widespread closures of pharmacies and grocery stores expected. Reports indicate thatmany people in the affected areaswere caught off guard by the announcement, resulting inruns on stores. It is all but certain that many people in the affected areas remain totally unaware the blackout is coming.

Governor Gavin Newsom>complained in Junethat the company was acting with “no coordination and collaboration with the state.” Hetold reporterson Tuesday that while PG&E had no choice but to go through with the outage, Californians should be outraged that PG & E’s incompetence had made it the only option.

A rundown of the expected numbers of customers in each county and city that will lose power isavailable on PG & E’s website.

“The safety of our customers and the communities we serve is our most important responsibility, which is why PG&E has decided to turn power off to customers during this widespread, severe wind event, ”PGE senior vice president of Electric Operations Michael Lewis said in a statement on the utility’s website. “We understand the effects this event will have on our customers and appreciate the public’s patience as we do what is necessary to keep our communities safe and reduce the risk of wildfire.”

“It’s absolutely unprecedented,” Sonoma County spokeswoman Maggie Fleming told the Journal. “We are encouraging people to keep their cellphones charged, have gas in their cars, cash in hand and nonperishable food.”

Climate change has been a massive driver of the wildfires in California, with bothdroughtand autumn drying trends expected to become more severe, literally fueling massive blazes. UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swaintold Wiredthat in recent years, wildfires are “burning much more land and they’re burning hotter, more intensely. And there’s a lot of anecdotal, verging on systematic, evidence that these fires are behaving differently. In the initial hours these fires are becoming explosively large much faster than they did historically. ”

Another factor is increasing human settlement in areas prone to wildfires, which increase both the number of fires sparked by human activity and puts more residents and property right in the path of the blazes. California has also faced accusations of poor forest management, including a failure to perform an adequatenumber of controlled burnsthat could thin out potential fuel sources.

Brave Browser
(Read More)

What do you think?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

After '83 Wrap Up Bash, Ranveer Singh Jets Off to Hyderabad for Sooryavanshi's Epic Climax Scene – News18,

After '83 Wrap Up Bash, Ranveer Singh Jets Off to Hyderabad for Sooryavanshi's Epic Climax Scene – News18,

Drake Posts Instagram Story about His Father – Vulture,

Drake Posts Instagram Story about His Father – Vulture,