PG&E delays power shutoffs in Sierra foothill counties due to ‘evolving weather’

PG&E delays power shutoffs in Sierra foothill counties due to ‘evolving weather’

PG&E delays power shutoffs in Sierra foothill counties due to ‘evolving weather’

About 450,000 people will be without power starting at 7 a.m. Wednesday as dry weather and strong winds roll through Northern California, increasing the risk of fires.

The head of Pacific Gas & Electric powered Corp. told indignant California lawmakers Monday that the nation's premier electric powered utility was not completely geared up for the results of its unprecedented outages previous thirty day period even as it designs to shut off electrical power to much more than fifty percent a million folks once more this week to prevent wildfires. Overnight conditions aren't expected to lessen fire risks, forecasters said.

PG&E wouldn't comment on its changed weather outlook, but it said it's made progress in "sectionalizing" its grid, allowing it to better pinpoint smaller areas for shutoffs.

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The October wind events and late start to the rainy season in Northern California have dried out vegetation, with an index that measures how hot a fire will burn showing extraordinarily high levels - above the 97th percentile, in parts of the region.

The utility is under constant criticism for cutting power to thousands of people several times in the past weeks.

California saw an onslaught of severe fire weather conditions in October, with an unusually high number of offshore wind events in Northern California, along with 10 days of offshore Santa Ana winds in Southern California, six of which were rated as "moderate" to "strong", which was above average for the month.

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Wind gusts will reach between 35 mph and 55 miles (56 km to 89 km), with isolated areas of higher gusts, National Weather Service forecasters said. The company is proactively shutting off the electricity after being found liable for causing the November 2018 Camp Fire in Northern California that destroyed thousands of structures and took the lives of dozens of people. The company filed for bankruptcy in January as it came under pressure from billions of dollars in claims tied to deadly wildfires. PG&E said it does not expect the power outages to affect other parts of the Bay Area.

"I think we got a little complacent that we had figured it out and all of a sudden we scaled up to 20 times that size in the next event", Johnson said during a state Senate oversight hearing. "If they can not, we are not going to sit around and be passive", Newsom said.

A lot of questions and complaints were directed PG&E's way: either that the utility is turning off the power needlessly to prevent fire or that it should have known conditions were ripe for fires like the Camp Fire past year. Sen. "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".

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