Historic Power Outages Continue in Bay Area

The second round of PG&E’s planned power shutoffs have begun in parts of the Peninsula, East Bay and South Bay, leaving an estimated 137,000 customers in the dark amid high fire danger.

The latest outages come as roughly 141,000 customers across the North Bay sit in the dark after the utility shut off their power early Wednesday morning.

At the start, PG&E’s multi-phase power shutoffs — prompted by forecasts calling for dry, gusty weather — were estimated to impact roughly 800,000 customers in parts of several Bay Area counties and across much of Northern and Central California, according to the utility. 

Some 50,000 customers in the Sierra Foothills have since had their power restored. PG&E said Wednesday an additional 60,000 to 80,000 customers in the Humboldt County area could see their lights come back on Wednesday night or Thursday morning as crews work to restore power.

It is not known when the rest of the impacted customers spread out across Northern and Central California will have their power restored. PG&E has warned that they might have to do without power for days after the winds subside because “every inch” of the power system must be inspected by helicopters and thousands of groundworkers and declared safe before the grid is reactivated.

PG&E said it planned to turn off power in three phases. The first went into effect around 12 a.m. Wednesday, impacting roughly 513,000 customers across Northern California, including areas of Marin, Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties.

The second phase, which originally was scheduled to begin around 12 p.m. Wednesday, was delayed due to changes in the weather forecast. Phase No. 2 was expected to impact about 234,000 customers in 10 counties, including Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.

A third phase of shutoffs is being considered for about 4,000 customers in Kern County.

Areas Affected by the Public Safety Power Shutoff

A planned outage from PG&E is expected to hit roughly 800,000 customers in parts of Northern, Central and coastal California.

Enter your location in the search bar below to see if you or your area will be affected.

Data: PG&E
Nina Lin/NBC

The shutoffs mark the most sweeping effort in state history to prevent wildfires caused by windblown power lines. The move comes after two years of catastrophic fires sent PG&E into bankruptcy and forced it to take more aggressive steps to prevent blazes.

Deliberate outages like these could become the new normal in an era in which scientists say climate change is leading to fiercer blazes and longer fire seasons.

A look at how many PG&E customers are estimated to be impacted during planned power shutoffs in the Bay Area. (Oct. 8, 2019)
Photo credit: NBC Bay Area

The planned outages have prompted many schools and colleges in the Bay Area to cancel classes. See a full list of school closures here.

There were concerns that the power outages would force Caltrans to close the Caldecott and Tom Lantos (Devil’s Slide) Tunnels, but both will remain open. Crews brought in temporary generators to power the Caldecott Tunnel and rerouted power to keep the Tom Lantos Tunnels open.

In anticipation of the shutoffs, Sonoma County and Santa Clara County declared a local emergency in response. 

The city of Morgan Hill enforced a curfew Wednesday night through Thursday morning in areas impacted by the shutoff.

“This curfew is for the safety of the community to reduce the opportunity of crime,” the city of Morgan Hill said in a Facebook post. 

Morgan Hill Enacts Curfew During Power ShutoffsMorgan Hill Enacts Curfew During Power Shutoffs

The county-by-county breakdown below shows how many Bay Area customers are expected to be impacted by the shutoffs:

  • Alameda County: 32,680 customers in Oakland, Castro Valley, Fremont, Union City, Berkeley, Hayward, San Leandro, Sunol, Pleasanton, Livermore.
  • Contra Costa County: 51,310 customers in San Ramon, Orinda, Lafayette, Moraga, Pinole, Richmond, Kensington, Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Berkeley, Canyon, San Pablo, Pittsburg, Rodeo, Concord, Albany, Antioch, Martinez.
  • Marin County: 9,855 customers in Bolinas, Fairfax, Mill Valley, Muir Beach, Olema, Sausalito, Stinson Beach.
  • Napa County: 32,124 customers in Napa, Saint Helena, Calistoga, Angwin, Pope Valley, Rutherford, Oakville, Deer Park, Lake Berryessa, Yountville, American Canyon.
  • San Mateo County: 14,766 customers in Half Moon Bay, El Granada, Woodside, Moss Beach, Montara, Portola Valley, Pescadero, La Honda, Redwood City, San Gregorio, Loma Mar, San Mateo, Menlo Park, Emerald Hills, Pacifica, Princeton, Davenport, Palo Alto.
  • Santa Clara County: 38,250 customers in San Jose, Morgan Hill, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Redwood Estates, Milpitas, Sunnyvale, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Coyote, Gilroy, Mount Hamilton, Palo Alto, Holy City.
  • Solano County: 32,863 customers in Fairfield, Vacaville, Suisun City, Vallejo, Dixon.
  • Sonoma County: 66,289 customers in Santa Rosa, Sonoma, Petaluma, Healdsburg, Cloverdale, Glen Ellen, Penngrove, Geyserville, Kenwood, Rohnert Park, Windsor, Annapolis, Stewarts Point, Cotati, Cazadero, Guerneville, Larkfield, El Verano, Boyes Hot Springs, Fulton, Bodega Bay.

PG&E Power Shutoffs: How to Prepare, What to Do During an OutagePG&E Power Shutoffs: How to Prepare, What to Do During an Outage

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

This post was originally posted at http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Bay-Area-Braces-for-Historic-Power-Outage-to-Continue-562676321.html.

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