PG&E warns of possible power shutoffs in 3 North Bay counties due to wildfire risk

ByCornell Barnard via KGO logo
Monday, September 23, 2019
EMBED <>More Videos

PG&E has warned thousands of people in the North Bay that their power could be turned off today to reduce wildfire risks.

PG&E is notifying thousands of its customers in Northern California that their power may be shut off as a safety precaution due to high fire danger, including customers across three North Bay counties.

PG&E notified more than 33,000 customers in Sonoma County, more than 10,000 in Napa County and around 12,000 customers in Lake County that their power could likely be shut off starting late Monday afternoon to prevent the ignition of wildfires. There are 68,000 customers across six counties in the Sierra Foothills are getting the same alert.

RELATED: PG&E launches website to warn about preemptive shutoffs

The utility admits, it's an extreme move.

"We understand how turning off the power creates hardships, but this is for safety during heightened fire risk," said PG&E Spokesperson Deanna Contreras.

PG&E acknowledges North Bay residents did not receive 48 hours notice of a power shutoff because weather forecast models indicate there simply wasn't time to do so.

Maria Higgin says she can't lose her power.

"My husband has COPD, we can't not have power, he needs oxygen," said Higgin.

RELATED: Hot, dry weather increases wildfire risk prompting PG&E power shutoff advisory

But others remember how a fierce firestorm devastated Sonoma County, two years ago.

"I'm for it. I'm willing to have my power shut off, several friends lost homes, not a pretty sight," said Joan from Santa Rosa.

The Santa Rosa Fire Department plans to increase staffing levels at fire stations this week when fire danger is high.