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California power outage: What happens when the lights go out

SeattlePI.com Wednesday, 9 October 2019 ()
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Power to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses is expected to go out, affecting millions of people in California, starting early Wednesday.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. said a forecast of extreme wind and dry weather has created fire danger of an unprecedented scope, prompting it to initiate the largest preventive outage in state history to reduce the risk of wildfires sparked by faulty power lines.

Here are some questions and answers about the outage.

WHO IS AFFECTED?

PG&E said it will turn off power to 800,000 customers — that means millions of people — in 34 counties in northern, central and coastal California. In Southern California, SoCal Edison warned that it might shut off power to more than 100,000 customers in eight counties as high winds are expected to hit the region Thursday.

The city of San Francisco isn't covered by PG&E's shutoffs. But much of the surrounding Bay Area and beyond could go dark, including large swaths of Silicon Valley, the cities of Oakland and Berkeley and much of the Northern California wine country hit by wildfires that killed 44 two years ago. The outage also affects parts of the agricultural Central Valley, the state's northern and central coasts and the Sierra Nevada foothills where a November wildfire blamed on PG&E transmission lines killed 85 people and devastated the town of Paradise.

HOW DO CALIFORNIANS KNOW IF THEIR POWER IS GOING OFF?

PG&E said it was informing customers by text and email about where and when power would be cut. But its website, where it directed people to check whether their addresses would be affected, wasn't working most of the day Tuesday after being overloaded with visitors. Local police departments and city and county officials were also sending...
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Credit: KTXL - Published < > Embed
News video: Northern California Wineries Forced to Work Around Power Shut-Offs

Northern California Wineries Forced to Work Around Power Shut-Offs 01:36

Among the hundreds of businesses affected by the PG&E blackouts, it has been especially difficult for wineries, which are in the middle of their harvest season.

Recent related videos from verified sources

CPUC To Hold Emergency Meeting On PG&E Power Shutoffs [Video]CPUC To Hold Emergency Meeting On PG&E Power Shutoffs

Calling the situation unacceptable, the California Public Utilities Commission is expected to hold an emergency meeting on the recent PG&E public safety power shutoffs that impacted millions of people...

Credit: CBS 5 SF KPIX     Duration: 01:21Published

State Legislators Open Investigation of PG&E Blackouts [Video]State Legislators Open Investigation of PG&E Blackouts

The state senate is launching a new investigation into the biggest planned power outage California has ever seen. Joe Vazquez reports. (10-17-19)

Credit: CBS 5 SF KPIX     Duration: 01:43Published


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Raging fires and hundreds of thousands without power. Officials fear it's the 'new abnormal' for California

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