Wildfire threats from a high wind event prompted PG&E to turn off power to some 172,000 California residents, including about 3,000 in Humboldt County.
For those affected, the lights are expected to come back on around 5 p.m. Wednesday, although it could be as late as 9 p.m. for some, according to PG&E.
Two local community resource centers have been set up.
Approximately 3,000 HumCo PG&E customers are without power today in relation to today's #PSPS. Two PG&E sponsored Community Resource Centers have been established for impacted communities in Humboldt County.— Humboldt Co OES (@HumCoOES) September 8, 2020
MORE INFORMATION: https://t.co/B94rrpYGyk#HumCoPSPS pic.twitter.com/SIF2A1LFJu
Meanwhile, the vast majority of Humboldt is being powered via the “islanding” of the Humboldt Bay Power Plant, one of several changes PG&E made to its Public Safety Power Shutoffs in the aftermath last year’s chaotic and costly outages. Read more here.
In a news release, PG&E states the peak wind period is expected to subside Wednesday morning, when workers can begin canvassing power lines and repairing any damaged equipment before re-energizing the grid.
A red flag warning issued by the Eureka office of the National Weather Service for much the region’s interior ends at noon.
Read the PG&E release below:
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) confirmed this morning that customers in the Sierra Foothills, Northern Sierra and elevated North Bay terrain who were notified of an impending Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) are now without power.
The PSPS event is affecting approximately 172,000 customers in 22 counties: Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mariposa, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sonoma, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolumne and Yuba. The process to turn off power to these counties was completed between approximately 9:00 p.m. Monday evening and 6:00 a.m. Tuesday morning. Power will be shut off in Kern County at approximately 2 p.m. Tuesday.
PG&E only undertakes a PSPS as a last resort, when it is necessary to do so to protect public safety from extreme wildfire threat.
This PSPS decision was based on forecasts of dry, hot weather with strong winds that pose significant fire risk. The National Weather Service has placed most of Northern and Southern California, including 1.5 million PG&E customers, under Red Flag Warnings for fire danger.
Forecasts indicate that the peak period of winds should end Wednesday morning.
Once the weather subsides and it is safe to do so, PG&E crews will begin patrolling power lines, repairing damaged equipment and restoring customers. In the area impacted by the PSPS, PG&E will need to conduct safety inspections of approximately 10,625 miles of transmission and distribution lines, which is equivalent to twice the distance from San Francisco to Tokyo.
Restoration activities can only take place during daylight hours, so it’s likely that some customers may not be restored until 9:00 p.m. Wednesday evening.