SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – As a brutal heat wave strikes the state, Pacific Gas and Electric said there is potential for a round of Public Safety Power Shutoffs as early as Monday evening and on Tuesday, including several areas in northern California, according to the utility’s website on Sunday.
PG&E said in a news release they are monitoring “a potentially widespread, strong and dry offshore wind event forecasted to start Monday evening and continue through mid-day Wednesday.”
PG&E said Sunday that customers in the potentially affected areas will receive 24-hour notifications.
As of Sunday night, these are the counties that could be impacted: Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Humboldt, Kern, Lake, Lassen, Napa, Nevada, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Sonoma, Tehama, Trinity, and Yuba.
Cal Fire said in a tweet on Saturday that a Red Flag Warning is in effect through Wednesday as a result of low humidity and gusty winds.
#RedFlagWarning in effect throughout California until Wednesday due to gusty winds & low humidity. This is #CriticalFireWeather so use caution when outdoors. https://t.co/upBwccxXFO pic.twitter.com/GzZacbOtCx
— CAL FIRE (@CAL_FIRE) September 5, 2020
“Weather models are starting to come into better agreement regarding the potential offshore wind event late Monday night through Wednesday morning. The start of the event is still more than 2 days away, so details regarding exact strength and location of the event may change moving forward,” PG&E said on its website on Saturday.
The California ISO said a flex alert will be in effect from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday and called on residents to conserve energy usage during that time. Stage 2 declarations were issued on both Saturday and Sunday but consumers’ conservation of energy both days prevented rolling blackouts from happening.
The potential PG&E shutoffs are separate from California ISO’s potential shutoffs, as the utility’s Public Safety Power Shutoffs are strictly to protect against wildfire danger and not a result of the state’s power grid being under strain.
If these Public Safety Power Shutoffs happen, they will be the first of this California wildfire season and first amid the coronavirus pandemic, where residents all across the state are still in quarantine and relying on electricity while they are working from home.