North Bay prepares for possible power outages

Tuesday, September 24, 2019
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North Bay residents and businesses are on edge as they wonder if power outages will happen and what they will do.

NAPA, Calif. (KGO) -- PG&E has turned off power in three counties in the Sierra foothills due to high fire risk, and people in the North Bay are waiting to see if they might be next.

The utility is watching the weather in Napa, Sonoma and Lake counties.

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

Bouchaine Vineyards in Napa has brought in a giant green generator to power the winery in the event that PG&E turns off the power.

"We can't do anything without power. We can't bring in fruit and crush it. We have no temperature control in our tanks. No pumps work. We couldn't press anything if we wanted to get it out of tank and get it into barrel. We are just dead in the water without power. So we have had to really think ahead so we don't get stuck," said winemaker and general manager Chris Kajani.

The winery rented the generator for three months. Hardware stores in Wine Country say they are selling out of generators as homeowners and businesses try to prepare for outages.

RELATED: North Bay residents anxious with possible PG&E power shutoffs looming

This is the new reality in the North Bay as PG&E threatens to shut down the power when the weather is hot and windy.

The fear is that their equipment could spark a wildfire. So they will turn it off to prevent a fire from starting.

This leaves residents and homeowners on edge as they wonder if it will happen and what they will do. But some say a power outage is better than the alternative.

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

"It's tough, don't get me wrong. It's tough on businesses, tough on school districts, it is hard on our neighborhoods obviously. But having been evacuated during the fire, I'd rather have them check all those lines and be cautious instead of having to do that again," said Kajani, who lives in Napa County.

PG&E says it is monitoring the current weather conditions. It will announce it is shutting off the power before it happens.