Extreme heat prompts PG&E to shut off power in North Bay

The extreme heat pounding the Bay Area prompted PG&E to shut off power early Tuesday morning to parts of the North Bay. 

The utility, which had warned residents over the weekend that this preventive power shutoff would occur as temperatures soared past 100 degrees, deactivated their power lines in parts of Solano, Napa and Lake counties about 1 a.m.

Residents in cities including Vacaville, Healdsburg and Clearlake will wake up without power. 

PG&E has not yet said when the power will be restored, but they did issue a warning that the shutoff is because of high winds and dry conditions, which could cause a wildfire if the live power lines are knocked over – which is what started the 2018 Camp Fire in Butte County that killed 85 people. 

Once the weather has improved, PG&E said, crews will inspect power lines for damage, and they will restore the power as soon as it's safe. 

According to PG&E North Bay spokesperson Megan McFarland, a planned power outage is a proactive step to prevent the heat from causing an unplanned outage.

"Something that PG&E does as a last resort," McFarland said. "We know how frustrating it is to be without power, especially during a heatwave. This is not something we would take lightly. We’re doing this to ensure public safety and prevent a catastrophic wildfire."

Even though it's done for safety, having no power has some customers heated. 

"I mean, really disappointed," St. Helena homeowner Perry Clark told KTVU on Monday. "When you need it the most, on the hottest day, when we need to use the A/C, we’re not going to have it."

Clark said he got a text message from the utility company around midday on Monday informing him that his house may lose power on Tuesday and Wednesday.

"It’s a rough situation, especially what we’re paying for power," said Clark, who is concerned about keeping his family comfortable.

With a big house to cool, a swimming pool pump to run, and a Tesla to charge, his energy bill hits a thousand dollars a month.

According to the National Weather Service, a heat advisory is in effect until Wednesday, but the prolonged heat wave could last through Sunday.