Amid fears of a "historic wind event", California's largest energy provider, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), was preparing on Friday to cut off electricity for approximately 850,000 households – or 2, 5 million – in 36 counties in
PG&E stated that areas in Northern California that could lose power on Saturday include Humboldt, the Sierra foothills, Western Sacramento Valley, the San Francisco Bay Area, Monterey Bay and the north central coast. Customers in the company's southernmost region, such as Kern County, which includes Bakersfield, can cut off power on Sunday.
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“We understand that longer closure will be very difficult for our clients. PG&E, plus contractors and Utilities, to be ready to handle the inspection, repair and rebuilding process as time goes by, "said PG&E Corporation CEO and President Bill Johnson in a statement.
PG&E has temporarily interrupted the supply of thousands of customers nationwide over the past few weeks to mitigate the potential spread of fires.
The company said this weekend could be the most powerful weather event in decades with winds up to 70 mph in the mountains.
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“The upcoming wind event may be one of the strongest in the last few years. It's also likely to be longer than recent wind events that have lasted about 12 hours or less, "says Scott Strenfell, PG&E chief meteorologist.
High winds pose a risk of fire as it may damage or cause sparks on the electrical system, potentially causing a fire assisted by a dry brush.
The company said it was monitoring the time and would send notices if it planned to move forward with the closure.