Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) has warned late today that a Public Power Safety Shut-Off (PSPS) event is possible for close to 100,000 residents in Northern California this weekend as strong offshore winds are forecast to hit the region starting Sunday morning.
According to the PG&E press release, costumers in Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Kern, Lake, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Tehama, and Yuba counties could lose power over the weekend.
Following legislative and regulatory approval, California utilities were afforded the ability to enact PSPS events if high-risk weather conditions occurred. While the utilities have been under fire for these events, the Legislature and Governor approved the use of the PSPS following the devastating 2018 fire season.
PG&E said that cutting power is necessary in high-risk weather conditions and that more than 80 damaged or hazardous power lines were discovered after the last round of shut-offs earlier this month. In the press release, the utility said those damaged lines could have sparked a wildfire had they not been powered down.
As required by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), PG&E has made a number of changes in its power shut-off protocols this year, including providing outdoor community resources in impacted counties that will provide resources like cooling locations, restrooms, Wi-Fi, charging for technology, food, and water.
Beginning on Sunday, the PSPS if called, could extend through Monday. A 12-hour notice will be issued by the utility if the PSPS is indeed called.