PG&E green lights new round of power shutoffs Tuesday, could impact 600K+ customers

Pacific Gas and Electric confirmed Monday evening that it's moving forward with another round of power shutoffs that could impact anywhere from 240,000 to more than 600,000 customers. Another major wind event is expected to blow through the area beginning Tuesday before noon and should taper off midday Wednesday. 

The electric company said customers in 29 counties would be without power starting Tuesday. They claim the measure, once again is to reduce wildfire risks. 

Portions of the following counties are currently expected to be impacted: Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Humboldt, Kern, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolumne, Yolo and Yuba.

The estimated timeline of the shutoff was released late Monday. The utility said Sonoma, Napa and Solano counties would would likely experience shutoffs at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, October 29. Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Marin, San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties would likely be shutoff at 11 p.m. 

The upcoming wind event is expected to start Tuesday morning in the North Valley, North Bay and Sierra Foothills; Tuesday afternoon in the southern Sierra Foothills; Tuesday evening in Kern County; and very early Wednesday in the Bay Area. The National Weather Service has issued a number of red-flag warnings for the North Bay, East Bay, and San Francisco Peninsula. The North Bay warning goes into effect at 8 a.m. Tuesday while the warnings for the East Bay and San Francisco Peninsula go into effect at 1 p.m. Tuesday. 

All three warnings expire at 4 p.m. Wednesday. 

A PG&E meteorologist said the wind event appears to be weaker than the one that hit over the weekend with wind gusts of 40 to 65 miles per hour expected in elevated terrain, but that the fuel component looks higher and will be drier. 

After Wednesday, the meteorologist said there was no expected offshore wind events until through the first week of November, but that there is still no rain in the forecast. 

The utility said it's possible that customers impacted by the Oct. 26 shutoff could be part of Tuesday's outage. It’s also possible that customers who are still without power, may not have electricity until Friday, Nov. 1. 

As of 5 p.m. on Monday, as many as 375,000 of the utility's customers had power restored from the weekend power shutoff. 

The utility also acknowleged the death of a contractor working in Humboldt County last Friday. PG&E spokesman Keith Stevens said the contractor was in a vehicle on an elevated roadway and it appeared he went over the edge. 

“The contractors who work with us, in addition to all our employees are part of our family. That’s something we take very seriously," Stevens said. 

Bay City News contributed to this report.