On Wednesday Pacific Gas and Electric Company continued to contact approximately 70,000 customers across nine Northern California counties with a warning that the power might turned off on Thursday, November 8, due to expected extreme fire danger conditions, including strong winds, very low humidity levels, critically dry vegetation. The utility has only taken this action once before in company history back in October of this year.
"We understand and have sympathy for customers with the inconvenience part of it but we really believe strongly believe safety is what makes this necessary," said spokesman Denny Boyles. "We know how important electric service is to customers, so we are considering temporarily turning off power in the interest of safety only as a last resort during extreme weather conditions."
PG&E is sending automated voice messages, texts and emails to customers alerting them to a potential power shutoff. In a written statement the company claims to have also taken extra steps to notify customers enrolled in the Medical Baseline program by sending out PG&E employees to knock on these customers' doors.
PG&E warning customers of a potential temporary loss of power in portions of the following communities:
- Butte County (including Berry Creek, Chico, Forest Ranch, Magalia, Oroville, Paradise)
- Lake County (including Clearlake Oaks, Cobb, Hidden Valley Lake, Kelseyville, Middletown)
- Napa County (including Angwin, Pope Valley, St. Helena)
- Nevada County (including Grass Valley, Nevada City, North San Juan)
- Placer County (including Colfax, Foresthill, Alta)
- Plumas County (including La Porte)
- Sierra County (including Downieville, Sierra City)
- Sonoma County (only portions of unincorporated northeast Sonoma County)
- Yuba County (including Brownsville, Dobbins, Camptonville)
If power is turned off, every mile PG&E lines will have to be inspected prior to turning the power back on.
Boyles adds that PG&E meteorologists continuously monitor weather conditions, and the company will make a call tomorrow based on the latest forecast. The hope is the winds will not be a strong as earlier forecasts indicated.
It is also recommended that customers contact PG&E to make sure their contact information is up-to-date. You can do that online at pge.com/mywildfirealerts, or by calling 1-866-743-6589 during regular business hours. You may also report downed power lines immediately by calling 9-1-1.