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Tens of thousands left without power throughout Northern California as PG&E begins planned power outages


More than 20,000 PG&E customers are currently without power in the North Bay as the utility company starts its Public Safety Power Shutoffs across several regions of the San Francisco Bay Area early this morning.

PG&E confirmed that they had begun phase one of the outages that could impact approximately 513,000 customers.

RELATED: Are you ready for a blackout? Here’s how to prepare if PG&E cuts electricity during high wind, fire danger

PG&E says they will initiate a second de-energizing phase on Wednesday between noon and 5 p.m. to another 300,000 customers, including Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz counties.

A third phase is being considered for the southernmost portions of PG&E’s service area, impacting approximately 42,000 customers. Specific locations are still to be determined.

As of 1 a.m., the shutdowns have left 20,059 PG&E customers without power in Marin, Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties, with the most customers affected currently in the Fairfield and Vacaville city areas, according to PG&E’s outage website.

The first outages started in Fairfield at 12:09 a.m., PG&E officials said, and a total of 14,520 customers in the Fairfield/Vacaville areas are without power as of 1 a.m. The majority of the outages are in central to north Fairfield, with some outages extending into south Vacaville.

The city of Sonoma is the next hardest hit, with 3,421 customers without power near the downtown area and an area extending a few miles north on the State Highway 12 corridor starting around 12:29 a.m., per the PG&E outage website.

In Napa County, 131 customers are without power due to the shutdown in a rural area just west of unincorporated Yountville and Oakville.

In an outage unrelated to the power shutdown, approximately 3,748 PG&E customers are without power in or near the west of the city of Napa. PG&E is investigating the cause of that outage.

On Tuesday night PG&E held a press conference for the first time this week giving details about the shutoffs.

You can find the latest outages here.

“This is forecast to be the strongest offshore wind event since October 2017,” said Evan Duffey, a PG&E Meteorologist.

See the list of areas impacted here.

“We very much understand the inconvenience and difficulties such a power outage would cause,” said Sumeet Singh, the Vice President of Asset and Risk Management and Community Wildfire Safety Program at PG&E.

On Monday, PG&E doubled their bandwidth, which still did not accommodate an 800-percent increase in traffic to their website. The site crashed, as people looked to see if their home was in an outage area. Now, PG&E says they are working to double capacity again.

LIST: Schools impacted by potential PG&E power shutoff

Late Tuesday, PG&E said they will provide backup generators to power the Caldecott Tunnel so that it can remain open, if and when they cut power to the East Bay commuter artery.

“We believe in backups, and backups, and backups,” said Andrea Pook, a spokesperson for East Bay MUD.

Pook says EBMUD, rented 29 portable generators, to pump water to their customers since much of our water supply relies on electricity too.

“What we want to do is preserve that water supply, so what we’re asking people to do is conserve water, shut off their outdoor irrigation, when the PG&E power shut down occurs.”

“This is not a good contingency for their customers,” said Marilyn Varnado, who lives in the Oakland Hills. Like many people in the Bay Area, she checked into a hotel, when she found out her home was in an outage area.

RELATED: PG&E Power Outages: How to find out they are coming and deal when they do

“Most people don’t realize what an outage really means,” said Varnado, who added, “stop lights are not going to be working, there’s going to be a lot of crazy things going on and I just think there’s going to be some tragedies because of that.”

PG&E says power restoration will begin Thursday afternoon after the weather event. PG&E crews will then have to inspect every inch of their power lines and infrastructure, and depending on damage from the expected wind, power could be off in some areas until Monday or Tuesday.

PG&E says as the weather evolves, they will provide updates about the power shutoff and restoration timing.

For the latest stories about PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutoff go here.

Copyright © 2019 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.





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