PG&E Warns of Possible Blackouts on Monday Due to Fire Risk
(Bloomberg) -- PG&E Corp. said it may need to cut power to some 44,000 residents across Northern California starting on Monday to prevent its live power lines from sparking wildfires during gusty conditions.
The California utility giant said Friday it’s monitoring a weather system that will bring winds that could reach up to 50 miles (80 kilometers) per hour in the foothills near Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay area, according to a post on its website. Customer notifications via text, email and automated phone calls began Saturday, PG&E said.
The notice comes as California enters its peak wildfire season, when dry winds from the east can rip through canyons and valleys. The gusts have fanned some of the state’s deadliest blazes. They arrive as the state remains in the grip of a severe drought that has left grassy hillsides and forested mountains bone dry and vulnerable to burn.
After its equipment sparked catastrophic wildfires in 2017 and 2018, PG&E began shutting off power during dry, windy weather when tree branches can blow into power lines and start a blaze. The utility said it will provide additional updates on its plans throughout the weekend.
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