Updated 12:09 p.m.
By CapRadio Staff
After reporting that about 150,000 customers in the Sierra Foothills, North Bay and North Valley would lose power Wednesday morning, PG&E has now said that customers in El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sierra, Yuba and western Sonoma counties will not lose power in this shutoff.
This latest outage comes after a series of PG&E power shutoffs due to high fire risk this fall. PG&E has come under fire in the past year after their equipment sparked a handful of devastating wildfires, like the Camp Fire, which burned through Butte County last November.
PG&E now says around 48,000 customers began losing power as early as 6 a.m., and some may not be shut off until around 4 p.m. PG&E hopes to begin inspecting lines Thursday mid-morning in the hopes of starting to restore power to those affected.
This outage was initially expected to impact about 303,000 customers across 25 counties before the utility scaled the plan back Tuesday. The outage is currently set to affect parts of Amador, Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Plumas, Shasta, Solano, Sonoma, Tehama, and Yolo counties.
PG&E says that the shutoffs are due to high fire risk in these areas caused by gusty winds and dry weather. A virtually rainless fall has left brush bone-dry and forecasts called for low humidity and winds gusting at times to 55 mph, which might fling tree branches or other debris into power lines, causing sparks that could set catastrophic fires in the region, PG&E officials said.
One Napa County reporting station hasn’t seen a measurable drop of rain since mid-September — the first time that’s happened since 1905, said Scott Strenfel, PG&E's principal meteorologist.
The northern Sierra Nevada has seen a fraction of an inch of rain in the past two months instead of the usual 5 inches, he said.
“This lack of rain is keeping the threat of fire very real, this late in the season, in many areas,” said Scott Strenfel, PG&E's principal meteorologist.
PG&E is opening Community Resource Centers throughout the areas impacted by this outage. At the centers, customers can find snacks, blankets and other supplies and can charge their electrical devices. The centers are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. starting on Wednesday, Nov. 20. You can find the locations listed below.