Late last month, PG&E cut power to more than 48,000 northern California customers as a precaution in dry and windy conditions. The outages will hit 34 counties, including much of the San Francisco Bay area, triggering a scramble by residents to prepare for what may be days without power. It was the second consecutive public safety power shutoff in that week following outages that affected about 24,000 customers in three northern counties.
"We implement this public safety power shutoff as a last resort", Sumeet Singh, vice president of PG&E's Community Wildfire Safety Program, said in a Tuesday news conference.
To the south, Southern California Edison also said Tuesday that more than 106,000 of its customers in parts of eight counties could face power cuts.
The company began proactively cutting electricity previous year to head off fire risk, and this would be the biggest to date based on the number of counties potentially affected. Could take 5-7 days to restore.
A Pacific Gas & Electric worker walks in front of a truck in San Francisco, Calif., on August 15, 2019.
On Oct. 8, the city sent out another email notifying residents that Morgan Hill Unified Schools are planning to remain open.
However, it is unknown when or if those potential power outages will occur.
A large section of Manhattan's Upper West Side and Midtown neighborhoods are seen in darkness from above during a major power outage on July 13, 2019 in New York City.
GET-A-Lift service will provide service to those customers who are dependent on transportation for serious medical needs.
In the meantime, he urged residents to shelter in place, as street lights and signals will not be working in the event of a power shutoff.
When the power might be turned back on is undetermined, and depends on when the winds die down. Cutoffs began after midnight local time Wednesday, with the first phase impacting about 513,000 customers.
"We want our customers to be aware that, based on this number, it could take several days to fully restore power after the weather passes and safety inspections are completed".
Gusts of 35 to 45 miles per hour were forecast to sweep a vast swath of the state, from the San Francisco Bay area to the agricultural Central Valley and especially in the Sierra Nevada foothills, where a November wildfire blamed on PG&E transmission lines killed 85 people and virtually incinerated the town of Paradise.
PG&E customers can access a full list of counties, cities, and communities at www.pge.com/pspsupdates.
The cause of the Camp Fire - the deadliest in the state's history which claimed 86 lives and razed 15,000 homes in Paradise - has not been officially determined, but speculation is rife that PG&E, which had reported power line problems in the weeks before it started, may be to blame.
PG&E said it was informing customers by text and email about where and when power would be cut.
Governor Gavin Newsom's Statement on outages: On Wednesday morning around 11 a.m. Governor Newsom tweeted a statement regarding the utility power outages.
Keep in mind family members who are elderly, younger children and pets. "That is ensuring we have sufficient backup power generation, establishing microgrids where we can do so, things of that nature". Never run a portable generator in the garage or in the rain, and never store generator fuel in the house.