Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) may cut power to 850,000 customers over the weekend in northern and central California.
In recent weeks, the company has cut electricity to avoid sparking wildfires in the area due to a forecast of high winds. Additionally, a spokesman for the company estimated that the potential outage could affect more than two million people.
On Friday, PG&E wrote on Twitter that the Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) may be necessary to protect Californians:
#PSPS: Forecasts Indicate Potential for Historic Wind Event This Weekend; Approximately 850,000 Customers Notified that They May Be Impacted Beginning Saturday Evening. PG&E May Need to Proactively Turn Off Power for Safety in Portions of 36 Counties.https://t.co/qS3fz36cTr pic.twitter.com/uaB882p6oX
— PG&E (@PGE4Me) October 25, 2019
The company stated that “No single factor drives a Public Safety Power Shutoff, as each situation is unique. PG&E carefully reviews a combination of many criteria when determining if power should be turned off for safety.”
One of the factors listed on the website is “forecasted sustained winds generally above 25 mph and wind gusts in excess of approximately 45 mph, depending on location and site-specific conditions such as temperature, terrain and local climate.”
If the company decides to move forward with the outages, the first cuts will be made at 3 p.m. on Saturday in the Northern Sierra Foothills.
“North Bay and the Mendocino areas at 5 p.m.; the Bay Area, coast and southern portion of the Sierra Foothills at 7 p.m.; Kern County will be shut off at 11 a.m. Sunday. This timeline was released Friday night and is subject to change, depending on the weather,” according to SF Gate.
On Twitter Friday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) blamed the company’s “decades of greed and mismanagement” for the power outages:
Decades of greed and mismanagement by PG&E have led us to this moment. Californians are infuriated — I am too.
We just a launched $75 million fund to help communities across our state dealing with these power shutoffs.https://t.co/LZ8NNB5T7D
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) October 25, 2019
“I have a message for PG&E: Your years and years of greed. Years and years of mismanagement. Years and years of putting shareholders over people. Are OVER,” Newsom wrote in a later tweet.
On Tuesday, Breitbart News reported that PG&E shuts off power in areas where there is a high risk of power lines or other infrastructure that could ignite a wildfire.
“The utility was responsible for multiple wildfires last year, including the Camp Fire — the largest in state history — that killed more than 80 people,” the report concluded.