Across Northern California, PG&E cut power to the counties of Alameda, Alpine, Calaveras, Contra Costa, Mariposa, Mendocino, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Stanislaus and Tuolumne.
The Contra Costa County Sheriff’s department says the estimated time for restoring power in parts of county is at noon today. But it the sheriff said it could still take up to five days before power is restored due to powerline inspections.
PG&E says anticipated time for restoring power in parts of Contra Costa County is at noon today. It could still be up to 1-5 days before power is back as PG&E needs to inspect the lines first.
— Contra Costa Sheriff (@CoCoSheriff) October 10, 2019
Worst fears were realized when a grass fire forced evacuations in Moraga early this morning. PG&E cut power in the area hours before the fire erupted. No injuries and damage to homes have been reported.
About 513,000 customers were part of the first phase of this Public Safety Power Shutoff in Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Solano, Sonoma, Tehama, Trinity, Yolo and Yuba counties.
They are currently working on a mainline that, if they can get it safely re-energized, could bring power back to between 60,000 and 80,000 more customers.
PG&E said in a press conference that they were able to reconfigure some of their lines and re-energize 44,000 of the over 500,000 customers currently without power.
PG&E did tweet out their new website Wednesday night. Many people reported the link was not working, though some were able to get on to the site. A short time later the tweet was deleted. Around 9 PM, PG&E tweeted out a new link that was working for some but then a short time later they deleted that tweet as well.
Before the outages hair salons and restaurants were busy– last minute electrical luxuries in the East Bay.
Whole Foods workers in Lafayette stayed late to transfer refrigerated inventory to freezer trucks in their parking lot.
“We stopped taking reservations because of the outage,” said Thor Kennedy, who works at the Walnut Creek Marriott.
Kennedy says the hotel is backed up with portable generators, but it’s only enough power for the common areas, so they’re handing out extra supplies to guests.
“We sourced as many flashlights that we possibly could and glow sticks that were passing out to our guests.”
A guest, visiting from a Caribbean Island, is impressed that at least Californians know that dangerous fire weather is behind the planned outage.
“I’m just really glad that we at least know what the reason is, because every once in a while, a planned power outage will take place back home in Trinidad and we have no idea why it’s happening, it’s just happening because,” said Brandon O’Brien.
Across the street, drivers pulled into fuel-up at a Chevron, only to discover everyone else got there first. There was no gas left at the pumps, though there was some sympathy for the embattled utility.
“I honestly can’t blame PG&E for safety reasons,” said Sean Duncan, who lives in Walnut Creek.
Safety is top of mind for Contra Costa County Fire Protection District, which upped staffing and wildfire fighting equipment overnight.
“We have a lot of unburned fuel on the ground from the rains last winter and spring… and with the high winds, that’s the big problem tonight, we could very easily get into a situation where a wildfire got away from us, that’s the last thing we want to happen,” said Con Fire’s public information officer, Steve Hill.
For the latest stories about PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutoff go here.
ABC7 News’ Kate Larsen contributed to this report.
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