Power stays on in North Bay; PG&E evaluating for tomorrow

Tuesday, September 24, 2019
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PG&E will not issue the planned outage in the North Bay after evaluating the fire risks.

PG&E will not issue planned power outages in Lake, Napa, and Sonoma counties this afternoon due to the risk of high fire danger. The utility will evaluate the weather tonight and tomorrow for possible outages.

"Tonight we are not worried about extreme conditions in the North Bay," said PG&E spokesperson Deanna Contreras.

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

By then, however, wheels had already gone into motion, or non-motion, for residents who lined up to fill their cars with gasoline, just in case the power did go down, rendering pumps inoperative.

"I do have work in a couple of hours so I was not wanting to do this right now," said Heather Weisheitinger while sitting in her car.

In preparation of a shut-off, Sonoma County opened its Emergency Operations Center. Board President David Rabbitt said the county prefers to be ready, whatever happens.

"We have been told these could last a few days. It is a whole new world so we need to make sure we're ready for it."

In Marin, County Fire could view much of that world on video monitors. With an imminent red flag warning, they have mobilized and pre-staged crews and equipment. Marin has not had a major fire in recent years. Battalion Chief Bret McTigue doesn't want to see one now.

"Just like the fires in Santa Rosa and in Paradise, Marin County has a long history of devastating fires. And we are certainly due for a catastrophic event in this county."

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

While PG&E says the winds won't be dangerous Monday night, the utility also warns that Tuesday will be another day.

More than 10,000 PG&E customers face a possible shutoff in Napa County, mostly in the hills to the East and West of downtown Napa. County officials have contingency plans in place to keep their facilities running, and they're reaching out to those who might be in danger without power.

If your area could be impacted, it is important to stay in touch with your county officials.

"Napa County launched a website a few months ago- readynapacounty.org. That website is full of information about how to prepare for any kind of emergency including a public safety power shut off," Rattigan said.

She says the county is aware of those residents who need power for medical devices.

"We do maintain a list of those with medical devices who may be vulnerable during a public safety power shutoff and we will make contact with those individuals as needed," Rattigan said.

If you would like to be on that list, call Napa's EOC at 707-299-1501 and get more information at readynapacounty.org.

Barbara Mooney's Napa Valley home survived the 2017 North Bay fires, but still, she's skeptical of PG&E's power shut off-plan.

"I'm kind of curious as to how they really think that's going to help us or whether that's really more for their benefit?" said Mooney, who lives in the Silverado Country Club neighborhood.

Inside Silverado Country Club, where hundreds of homes are being rebuilt from the 2017 firestorm, a power outage could bring things to a standstill.

"Construction stops if they shut off the power," explained Brandon Sax with Sax & Roscoe Construction. "I mean we've got to round up generators if that's going to happen and try to keep things moving. Currently it will be stop work if that happens."

The possible outage includes a number of wineries and tasting rooms, including Whetstone Wine Cellars on Atlas Peak Rd.

"Being that our building was built in 1885, we have had some power shutoffs before just due to the oldness of the building and the electricity, so we will do tastings by candlelight," said Whetstone's Jenna Wagner. "We have Wi-Fi, so honestly we'll make it work either way."