SAN FRANCISCO - PG&E announced customers should be prepared for another possible power shutoff this week. This latest round could happen Wednesday and Thursday when a potentially strong offshore wind event is in the forecast. 180,000 customers could be impacted primarily in the Sierra Foothills, North Valley and North Bay.
It wasn’t too long ago Diane Greer’s neighborhood in San Rafael was pitch black at night for several days. She said another PG&E public safety power shutoff is frustrating but not unexpected.
“It’s just concerning in that are the school's going to be shut? Will work be affected?” said Greer.
On Sunday, the utility said parts of Northern California could see hazardous wildfire conditions prompting another power shutoff. Warm temperatures coupled with gusty offshore winds are said to be in the forecast Wednesday and Thursday.
“Both the forecast and scope of the weather event remain very fluid three days ahead of the event. At present, projections reflect a possible weather event similar to previous PSPS events that impacted about 180,000 customers.”
Last month, PG&E turned the power off in hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses in Northern California.
“Not so good,” said Moshe Elitzur of Oakland Hills. “It looks like that’s how we have to live now.”
Moshe Elitzur lives in the Oakland Hills, which is fire-sensitive after flames ravaged that neighborhood in 1991. The uncertainty of a shutoff has many residents living on edge.
“On this last one, we were more or less okay except we had to empty out our fridge and freezer and throw away lots of food,” said Elitzur.
Maurice Levitch is a general contractor and architect. He said if the power goes out, he could lose work or time on a job.
“I’m not happy about it but I understand why and if the power shutoffs have to happen in order to protect all of us than we understand that it's something we work out together,” said Levitch.
The potential shutoff comes as the utility is scheduled to go before the State Senate Energy and Utilities Committee on Monday about its use of blackouts.
Residents find it hard to believe. They think shutoffs could have been handled better.
“They didn't do the maintenance that they should have done,” said Greer. “I think that’s frustrating.”
The utility said that since the last power shutoffs, it has improved its web site and call center to handle the increased traffic.
For general information about how a Public Safety Power Shutoff works, go to pge.com/psps