"Forecasts indicate the period of peak winds should end mid-morning on Thursday". In the face of high winds and low humidity conditions that heighten the risk of fire by downed power lines, PG&E unilaterally restricts millions from electricity instead of repairing and updating its infrastructure. As of early this morning, winds were already gusting above 50 miles per hour in higher terrain north of San Francisco, the NWS said. PG&E initiated the PSPS for community and customer safety early Wednesday morning due to dry, windy weather and elevated fire risk across portions of its service area. Lawmakers have criticized the bankrupt company for leaving thousands and thousands of people in the dim for days at a time for the duration of dry, windy temperature events in October. The practice known as Public Safety Preventative Shutoffs intentionally cuts electricity to avoid causing fires during high winds and dry conditions.
Neal Narayan, left, and Anthony Malnati, Sr., both of whom are wildfire safety operation center analysts for Pacific Gas & Electric Co., monitor a small fire on the 16-screen video wall as well their stations in PG&E's San Francisco headquarters on August 5, 2019.
The CEO of the nation's largest utility is expected to face angry California lawmakers over the company's decision to turn off power for millions of people to prevent its outdated equipment from starting wildfires.
These planned outages could continue for a decade, PG&E chief executive Bill Johnson said during a California Public Utilities Commission meeting last month.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (L) tours a home destroyed by the Kincade fire in Geyserville, Calif. on October 25, 2019.
Bay Area residents have come to know this means PG&E could shut off the power as a precaution, possibly for days.
"We weren't as nicely geared up as we assumed, and we desired to give a minimal a lot more notice - a good deal a lot more awareness - to impacts soon after we shut the energy off", Johnson defined. "If Pacific Gas and Electric is unable to secure its own fate and future ... then the state will prepare itself as backup for a scenario where we do that job for them".