California Residents Brace for Electricity Cutoffs as Winds Arrive

California blackouts (Josh Edelson / AFP / Getty)
Josh Edelson / AFP / Getty

Electricity customers in parts of Northern and Central California are being told to expect power cutoffs on Monday, as high winds arrive that could last until Tuesday, and which could cause wildfires by downing live transmission wires in dry brush.

Though the number of customers expected to be affected is small, the outages will affect 20 counties, and represent the state’s continued power woes in bad weather.

In a news release, the Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) reported:

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) confirmed it will implement a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) affecting approximately 25,000 customers in very targeted portions of 20 counties. The first wave of targeted safety shutoffs will begin early Monday morning around 4 a.m. The scope of the overall event represents less than one-half of one percent of all PG&E customers.

This safety shutoff is due to a dry, offshore wind event expected to start Sunday night and bring wind gusts of up to 50 mph by Monday morning. As a result of this wind event, combined with extreme to exceptional drought conditions and extremely dry vegetation, PG&E began sending advanced notifications Saturday to customers where PG&E may need to proactively turn off power for safety to reduce the risk of wildfire from energized power lines.

The Sacramento Bee reported:

The reason for the possible power shutoff is incoming winds that could reach 50 mph in some areas. The National Weather Service’s Sacramento office predicts strong, gusty winds starting late Sunday night and lasting through Tuesday. PG&E’s seven-day forecast shows a potential for power shutoffs on Tuesday as well.

In Sacramento, gusts could reach up to 45 mph, while in Stockton and Chico they could hit 50. Minimum daytime humidity throughout the region is expected to remain low, potentially between 10% and 20%, according to Weather Service meteorologists.

Blackouts have become a frequent occurrence in California in recent years, as the state’s power grid struggles to deal with the threat of wildfires in areas where vegetation grows near power lines, and as the demand for power exceeds capacity during hot weather, with solar and wind power often unable to meet peak demand.

The ongoing drought has also caused authorities to shut off a crucial hydroelectric plant at Lake Oroville, where the water levels are too low to operate the power turbines.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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