LOS ANGELES (AP) — Pacific Gas & Electric says it’s given 24-hour notice to customers in 17 Northern California counties that it may shut off electricity to prevent gusty winds from downing power lines and sparking wildfires.
CEO Bill Johnson says PG&E will decide Wednesday morning whether to begin power shutoffs Wednesday afternoon.
PG&E says the shutoffs depend on the risk from dry, gusty weather that’s forecast in much of the state over the next several days.
If they do happen, the power shut-offs would occur in three waves, with the first impacting people in the Sierra foothills by 2 p.m. Wednesday at the earliest. Those in the North Bay could lose their power an hour later.
PG&E said its meteorologists believe their Tehachapi and Kern County customers could be affected by dangerous winds by around 2 a.m. Thursday, which would mean those customers could experience outages as early as 1 a.m. Thursday.
Customers will know by Wednesday morning if they will lose power.
Johnson says forecasters are also keeping an eye on another possible wind event that could lead to preventative blackouts over the weekend into early next week.
The utility says about 184,000 homes and businesses could be affected on Wednesday — mostly in the Sierra foothills and to the north of the San Francisco Bay Area. The shutoffs could last 48 hours.