(CBS13) — PG&E will decide Wednesday morning whether to cut power to approximately 184,000 customers in 16 counties for fire safety, including more than 130,000 customers in the Sacramento region.
This comes just two weeks after the first major power shutoff across Northern California which affected more than 2 million people. And, there could be another round of shutoffs later this weekend, depending on weather conditions.
The winds were fairly calm Tuesday, but are expected to pick up tomorrow.
Here is what you need to know about the potential power shutoffs:
WHAT AREAS ARE AFFECTED?
As of Tuesday afternoon, these counties are affected by the shutoff: Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Kern, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, San Mateo, Sierra, Sonoma, and Yuba.
Click here to find the most up-to-date information including specific cities that may be affected. Customers can also put in their address to see if they will lose power.
All customers should have been notified of the potential outages. If you have not been notified by Tuesday night, you should not be affected.
HOW LONG WILL THE SHUTOFFS LAST?
That depends. If PG&E decides to go forward with the shutoffs, crews are expected to begin shutting off the power in some areas around 2 p.m. Wednesday. PG&E said power will be turned off in stages, depending on the local timing of the severe wind conditions.
Based on the forecasted weather event, the utility expects peak winds to last at least through Thursday afternoon.
After they determine the severe weather event has ended, crews must then inspect equipment for damage before restoration. This process can take several days depending on the damage.
Make sure to update your information with PG&E, so you can get the latest alerts for your area.
WILL SCHOOLS BE OPEN?
So far, only one district has announced a possible closure. The El Dorado Union High School District said if the power is shut off Wednesday, they may close school Thursday. Schools will still be open on Wednesday.
No other schools have announced potential closures.
HOW DO I TRACK OUTAGES?
WILL PG&E COMPENSATE CUSTOMERS WHO HAVE POWER SHUT OFF DUE TO FIRE RISK?
According to the website, PG&E operates a “Safety Net Program” and will reimburse customers who are without power for more than 48 hours due to a severe event, including weather. The shut off scheduled for Wednesday would not fall under this category; however, customers will not get charged for power since they are not consuming any power.
A PG&E spokesperson told CBS13, “PG&E does not reimburse customers for losses, as power will be shut off for safety when gusty winds and dry conditions, combined with a heightened fire risk threaten a portion of the electric system.”
IS MY FOOD OKAY?
The USDA says food will stay safe in a fridge for up to four hours during a power outage. After that, many perishables are no longer safe to eat. Click here for a guide on what to keep and what to toss from your fridge.
Also, here’s an easy tip to help determine if your frozen food is still okay after you lose power.