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Forecasts Indicate Potential for Historic Wind Event This Weekend

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--

Approximately 850,000 Customers Notified that They May Be Impacted Beginning Saturday Evening

May Need to Proactively Turn Off Power for Safety in Portions of 36 Counties

Mutual Aid Request for 1,000 Personnel for Restoration Phase

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) today said it continues to monitor a potentially powerful and widespread dry, hot and windy weather event expected to begin impacting the service area Saturday between 6 and 10 p.m. and lasting until midday Monday.

PG&E will need to turn off power for safety several hours before the potentially damaging winds arrive. It’s important to note that as this weather system sweeps from north to south over a period of two days, PG&E customers across Northern and Central California will feel the effects of hot, dry winds at different times, which means outage times will vary, as well.

The potential Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) is expected to affect approximately 850,000 customers and may impact portions of 36 counties across portions of Humboldt, the Sierra foothills, Western Sacramento Valley, North Bay, and across the greater Bay area, Monterey Bay and northern Central Coast on Saturday, Oct. 26. Customers in the southern-most portion of PG&E’s service area in Kern County could have power shut off for safety on Sunday, Oct. 27.

Predictive data models indicate the weather event could be the most powerful in California in decades, with widespread dry Northeast winds between 45-60 miles per hour (mph) and peak gusts of 60-70 mph in the higher elevations.

Winds of this magnitude pose a higher risk of damage and sparks on the electric system and rapid wildfire spread. The fire risk is even higher because vegetation on the ground has been dried out by recent wind events.

Given the forecast and conditions, PG&E is advising its customers of the potential for a widespread PSPS lasting several days, intended to prevent a catastrophic wildfire. As this intense weather event approaches the service area in the next 24 hours, PG&E’s forecasts will offer sharper detail, noting that the scope may continue to change on the number of customers who will be affected.

Counties Potentially Impacted

County

Customers

Cities or unincorporated areas with some customers potentially impacted

Alameda

Total: 57,360
Medical Baseline: 1,302

Albany, Berkeley, Canyon, Castro Valley

Dublin, Fremont, Hayward, Livermore

Oakland, Piedmont, Pleasanton, San Leandro, Sunol

Alpine

Total: 66
Medical Baseline: 0

Bear Valley

Amador

Total: 19,909
Medical Baseline: 974

Amador City, Drytown, Fiddletown, Ione, Jackson, Martell, Pine Grove, Pioneer, Plymouth, River Pines, Sutter Creek, Volcano

Butte

Total: 19,152
Medical Baseline: 1,398

Bangor, Berry Creek, Brush Creek, Butte Meadows, Chico, Clipper Mills, Cohasset, Feather Falls, Forbestown, Forest Ranch, Magalia, Oroville, Palermo, Paradise, Rackerby, Stirling City, Yankee Hill

Calaveras

Total: 30,396
Medical Baseline: 1,370

Angels Camp, Arnold, Avery, Burson, Camp Connell, Campo Seco, Copperopolis, Dorrington, Douglas Flat, Glencoe, Hathaway Pines, Mokelumne Hill, Mountain Ranch, Murphys, Rail Road Flat, San Andreas, Sheep Ranch, Tamarack, Vallecito, Valley Springs, Wallace, West Point, White Pines, Wilseyville

Colusa

Total: 64
Medical Baseline: 2

Arbuckle, Maxwell, Sites, Williams

Contra Costa

Total: 48,824
Medical Baseline: 1,610

Alamo, Antioch, Brentwood, Byron, Canyon, Clayton, Concord, Crockett, Danville, Diablo, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Hercules, Kensington, Knightsen, Lafayette, Martinez, Moraga, Orinda, Pinole, Pittsburg, Pleasant Hill, Port Costa, Richmond, Rodeo, San Pablo, San Ramon, Walnut Creek

El Dorado

Total: 56,643
Medical Baseline: 2,774

Cameron Park, Camino, Cold Springs, Coloma, Cool, Diamond Springs, El Dorado Hills, Fair Play, Garden Valley, Georgetown

Greenwood, Grizzly Flats, Kelsey, Kyburz, Lotus, Mount Aukum, Pacific House, Pilot Hill, Placerville, Pollock Pines, Rescue, Shingle Springs, Somerset, Twin Bridges

Glenn

 

Total: 43
Medical Baseline: 2

Orland, Willows

Humboldt

Total: 64,710
Medical Baseline: 2,057

Alderpoint, Alton, Arcata, Bayside, Blocksburg

Blue Lake, Bridgeville, Carlotta, Eureka, Fernbridge, Ferndale, Fieldbrook, Fields, Landing, Fortuna, Garberville, Honeydew, Hoopa, Hydesville, Kneeland, Korbel, Loleta

Manila, Mckinleyville, Miranda, Myers Flat, Orick, Orleans, Phillipsville, Redcrest, Rio Dell, Samoa, Scotia, Trinidad, Weitchpec, Weott, Willow Creek

Kern

Total: 842
Medical Baseline: 27

Arvin, Bakersfield, Lebec, Grapevine

Lake

Total: 37,441
Medical Baseline: 2,170

Clearlake, Clearlake Oaks, Clearlake Park, Cobb, Finley, Glenhaven, Hidden Valley Lake, Kelseyville, Lakeport, Loch Lomond, Lower Lake, Lucerne, Middletown, Nice, Upper Lake, Witter Springs

Marin

Total: 86,813
Medical Baseline: 1,574

Belvedere, Bolinas, Corte Madera, Dillon Beach, Fairfax, Fallon, Forest Knolls, Greenbrae, Inverness, Kentfield, Lagunitas, Larkspur, Marshall, Mill Valley, Muir Beach, Nicasio, Novato, Olema, Point Reyes Station, Ross, San Anselmo, San Geronimo, San Rafael, Sausalito, Stinson Beach, Tiburon, Tomales, Woodacre

Mariposa

Total: 809
Medical Baseline: 42

Coulterville, Greeley Hill

Mendocino

Total: 12,755
Medical Baseline: 408

Albion, Boonville, Branscomb, Cummings, Dos Rios, Elk, Gualala, Hopland, Laytonville, Leggett, Little River, Manchester, Philo, Piercy, Point Arena, Potter Valley, Redwood Valley, Ukiah, Westport, Willits, Yorkville

Monterey

Total: 993
Medical Baseline: 49

Aromas, Salinas

Napa

Total: 11,294
Medical Baseline: 248

Angwin, Calistoga, Deer Park, Lake Berryessa, Oakville, Pope Valley, Rutherford, St Helena, Yountville

Nevada

Total: 43,211
Medical Baseline: 1,822

Chicago Park, Grass Valley, Nevada City, Norden, North San Juan, Penn Valley, Rough And Ready, Smartsville, Soda Springs, Washington

Placer

Total: 31,277
Medical Baseline: 1,275

Alta, Applegate, Auburn, Baxter, Emigrant Gap, Foresthill, Gold Run, Granite Bay, Loomis, Meadow Vista, Newcastle, Penryn, Weimar

Plumas

Total: 785
Medical Baseline: 6

Belden, La Porte, Quincy, Storrie, Twain

San Benito

Total: 1,369
Medical Baseline: 39

Aromas, Hollister, San Juan Bautista

San Joaquin

Total: 372
Medical Baseline: 5

Linden

San Mateo

Total: 64,932
Medical Baseline: 1,293

Belmont, Burlingame, Daly City, El Granada, Emerald Hills, Half Moon Bay, Hillsborough, La Honda, Loma Mar, Montara, Moss Beach, Pacifica, Pescadero, Portola Valley, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Gregorio, San Mateo, South San Francisco, Woodside, Unincorporated Communities in Southwest San Mateo County

Santa Clara

Total: 27,093
Medical Baseline: 823

Coyote, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Redwood Estates, San Jose, San Martin

Santa Cruz

Total: 44,945
Medical Baseline: 2,095

Aptos, Ben Lomond, Brookdale, Capitola, Corralitos, Felton, Freedom, La Selva Beach, Mount Hermon, Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley, Soquel

Shasta

Total: 28,460
Medical Baseline: 1,663

Anderson, Bella Vista, Big Bend, Cottonwood, French Gulch, Igo, Lakehead, Millville, Montgomery Creek, Oak Run, Ono, Palo Cedro, Platina, Round Mountain, Shingletown, Whiskeytown, Whitmore

Sierra

Total: 1,159
Medical Baseline: 14

Alleghany, Downieville, Goodyears Bar, Pike City, Sierra City

Siskiyou

Total: 51
Medical Baseline: 0

Somes Bar

Solano

Total: 10,232
Medical Baseline: 545

Fairfield, Suisun City, Vacaville, Vallejo

Sonoma

Total: 92,877
Medical Baseline: 2,695

Annapolis, Bodega, Bodega Bay, Camp Meeker, Cazadero, Cloverdale, Cotati, Duncans Mills, Forestville, Freestone, Geyserville, Glen Ellen, Graton, Guerneville, Healdsburg, Jenner, Kenwood, Larkfield, Monte Rio, Occidental, Penngrove, Petaluma, Rio Nido, Rohnert Park, Sebastopol, Stewarts Point, Valley Ford, Villa Grande, Windsor

Stanislaus

Total: 163
Medical Baseline: 2

Knights Ferry, Oakdale, Patterson, Westley

Tehama

Total: 19,238
Medical Baseline: 1,218

Corning, Flournoy, Gerber, Los Molinos, Manton, Mill Creek, Mineral, Paskenta, Paynes Creek, Proberta, Red Bluff, Vina

Trinity

Total: 1,046
Medical Baseline: 39

Del Loma, Hawkins Bar

Tuolumne

Total: 29,454
Medical Baseline: 1,476

Big Oak Flat, Chinese Camp, Columbia, Groveland, Jamestown, Long Barn, Mi Wuk Village, Pinecrest, Sonora, Soulsbyville, Strawberry, Twain Harte

Yolo

Total: 530
Medical Baseline: 15

Brooks, Capay, Esparto, Guinda, Rumsey, Winters

Yuba

Total: 5,502
Medical Baseline: 313

Browns Valley, Camptonville, Dobbins, Loma Rica, Oregon House, Strawberry Valley, Wheatland

Shutoffs Could be Widespread and Extended

As experienced earlier in October, portions of most counties in PG&E’s 70,000-square-mile service area could be temporarily de-energized, potentially including all Tier 2 and Tier 3 fire risk regions. Customers can view the fire threat maps on the California Public Utilities Commission website to know whether they live in one of these high fire-risk regions.

Customers should prepare for a shutoff lasting 48 hours or longer, given the long duration of the wind event. Power cannot be restored until the dangerous weather has passed, safety inspections of de-energized lines are complete, and damage to the system has been repaired.

“We understand that a longer shutoff would be very difficult for our customers. We are already working to minimize the length, including amassing a force of field personnel from PG&E, plus contractors and other utility companies, to be ready to tackle the inspection, repair and restoration process as soon as the weather passes,” said PG&E Corporation CEO and President Bill Johnson.

Customer Notifications

The company provides direct notifications to affected customers who have given their contact information to PG&E 48 hours in advance of the potential shutoff, and again at 24 hours and four hours before shutoff.

PG&E has not determined whether to move forward with a shutoff, but will continue to monitor weather conditions and provide more definitive information on the potential timing and scale of shutoffs as weather models are updated.

Forecasts and Criteria for Shutoff

“The upcoming wind event has the potential to be one of the strongest in the last several years. It’s also likely to be longer than recent wind events, which have lasted about 12 hours or less,” said Scott Strenfel, Principal Meteorologist with PG&E.

PG&E’s meteorology team is part of a group of fire weather experts and data scientists at the company who work closely with the National Weather Service and the National Interagency Fire Center's (NIFC) Geographic Area Coordination Center.

The company carefully reviews a combination of many criteria before taking steps to shut off power for safety, including but not limited to:

  • Low humidity levels, generally 20 percent and below.
  • Forecasted sustained winds generally above 25 mph and wind gusts in excess of approximately 45 mph, depending on location and site-specific conditions such as temperature, terrain, vegetation and local climate.
  • Moisture content: Condition of dry fuel on the ground and live vegetation (dead and live fuel moistures).
  • On-the-ground, real-time observations from PG&E’s Wildfire Safety Operations Center and field crews.
  • A Red Flag Warning declared by the National Weather Service.
  • Information from the NIFC and National Weather Service, including high risk days and locations considered “critical burn environments.”

Working to Minimize the Shutoffs

To help speed inspections and repairs, the company has requested mutual aid of 1,000 workers from other energy companies, including ATCO Energy in Alberta, Xcel Energy in Minnesota and Florida Power & Light. These crews are expected to be staged and briefed on the restoration plan by Sunday evening. If weather progresses as expected, restoration could begin in some portions of the affected area as early as Monday afternoon.

The company and its mutual aid partners will prioritize areas that can be safety restored to bring the maximum number of customers back online as quickly as possible.

PG&E is also working to minimize customer impact wherever possible through a combination of sectionalizing the grid and providing emergency backup power generation resources that will be able to quickly re-energize customers in portions of some cities.

How Customers Can Prepare

As part of PSPS preparedness efforts, PG&E is asking customers to:

  • Update their contact information by calling 1-866-743-6589 during normal business hours. PG&E will use this information to alert customers through automated calls, texts, and emails, when possible, prior to, and during, a Public Safety Power Shutoff.
  • Plan for medical needs like medications that require refrigeration or devices that need power.
  • Identify backup charging methods for phones and keep hard copies of emergency numbers.
  • Build or restock your emergency kit with flashlights, fresh batteries, first aid supplies and cash.
  • Keep in mind family members who are elderly, younger children and pets.
  • Learn more about wildfire risk and what to do before, during and after an emergency to keep your family safe at PG&E's Safety Action Center.

To support customers in the affected areas, PG&E will open Community Resource Centers which provide restrooms, bottled water, electronic device charging and air-conditioned seating. Mobile resource stations (vans), when available, will provide bottled water, phone-charging and latest information for customers. PG&E is working with counties and cities on locations and will provide the list including operating hours prior to initiating the PSPS.

About PG&E

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric energy companies in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com and www.pge.com/news.

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