Planned power outage to hit PG&E customers in Napa and Sonoma counties

As the North Bay braces for an invasion of heat, Pacific Gas & Electric is preparing for a potential power shutoff to prevent equipment, mainly transformers, from overheating and causing a wildfire.

But the threat of no power in a heatwave has some customers heated.

"I mean, really disappointed," St. Helena homeowner Perry Clark told KTVU, "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.

He was among the dessert lovers lined up for a cool treat at Roman Holiday Gelato downtown on Monday to beat the heat.

"We actually have a house rule that we can only have ice cream when its above 85 degrees, so here it is," Vivienne Ye said after finishing her cold chocolate cone.

If the power goes out, the shop owner has a generator standing by to prevent her gelato from melting but had no idea about the planned outage in her county.

"I would really appreciate some specific addresses and timeframes," said Elisha Smiley, owner of Roman Holiday Gelato.

We searched for Smiley’s business address on the PG&E website, which showed she was not part of the planned shutoff, something any customer can do with their own address.

"Yeah, I don’t want to be stuck in a hot house. No." Nicholas Simmons said after downing a cool mint gelato.

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."


East Bay among hottest parts of Bay Area during heat wave

Livermore will be among the hottest spots in the Bay Area beginning Tuesday. We found many people staying cool by dining indoors at restaurants Monday evening.

Clark feels the lack of competition in the utility industry is the bigger problem.

"It’s a one-business system," Clark said. "There’s no alternative. So, we’re stuck with what we have, which isn’t providing us with the full product we expect for what we pay."

According to PG&E, while 12,000 customers in Northern California could lose power, in the North Bay, only about 50 customers in Napa County and a dozen in Sonoma County would be impacted, beginning around 2 a.m. on Tuesday.

It is unclear how long the outage will last.

The number of days and customers could change depending on how long the heat continues.

Several cooling centers will be open in Sonoma County starting at 11 a.m. on Tuesday.