California counties go dark as PG&E shuts off power to grapple with wildfire risk

Washington Examiner Politics 2 months ago

Pacific Gas & Electric is “proactively” shutting off power in portions of 34 counties in northern and central California amid severe wind conditions Wednesday and Thursday, the utility announced.

The blackouts could impact electric service for nearly 800,000 customers, the utility said Tuesday, adding customers should prepare for “an extended outage” given the company will need to inspect equipment after the wind event subsides before bringing power back online.

“We understand the effects this event will have on our customers and appreciate the public’s patience as we do what is necessary to keep our communities safe and reduce the risk of wildfire,” Michael Lewis, PG&E's senior vice president of electric operations, said in a statement.

PG&E’s decision is a balancing of risks that’s likely to frustrate customers. More than 260 California schools closed their doors Wednesday due to the expected outages, according to a tally from CalMatters.

But the power shutdown is also indicative of the types of difficult decisions utilities will increasingly have to make as climate change intensifies storms and extreme weather events like wildfires.

The California utility is trying to keep history from repeating. PG&E has been under intense scrutiny for the role its equipment has played in sparking wildfires in the state in the last several years.

And PG&E is fighting for its future amid what many have called the first “climate change bankruptcy” prompted by massive liabilities the company is facing due to wildfire damages.

The increasing frequency and intensity of wildfires in California is affecting its greenhouse gas emissions, too.

Wildfires in the state in 2018 emitted around 45.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, a 24% increase from the previous year, an Oct. 8 report from the nonprofit group Next 10 found.

That report also estimated California would be decades behind in meeting its climate goals for 2030 and 2050, unless the state quickens the pace at which it’s cutting greenhouse gases.

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USA Today › 2 months ago
Pacific Gas & Electric says it may cut power to more than 600,000 homes and businesses in parts of 30 counties for several days due to wildfire risk.
ABC News › Finance › 2 months ago
As California counties face the prospect more power outages meant to prevent wildfires, wealthier counties are adapting their emergency plans to respond to the new reality of thousands of residents without power
CBS News › 2 months ago
Millions of people in California could be without electricity for days. PG&E started shutting off power overnight in more than half of California's 58 counties in what the company is calling an "unprecedented wildfire danger." Roughly 800,000 customers...
One America News Network › Finance › 2 months ago
(Reuters) - Power provider PG&E Corp's unit said on Tuesday it would cut off power for nearly 800,000 customers across northern and central California to reduce wildfire risk following severe
The New York Times › Finance › 2 months ago
Power provider PG&E Corp's unit said on Tuesday it would cut off power for nearly 800,000 customers across northern and central California to reduce wildfire risk following severe wind warnings.
CNN › 1 month ago
Less than two weeks after California's largest utility shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers to help prevent a wildfire, it says it may leave parts of the state in the dark again.
Fox News › 2 months ago
The largest utility company in California began their second wave of planned power outages to head off wildfire danger from downed power lines Wednesday evening, according to a report.
RT › 2 months ago
Around 800,000 PG&E customers in California are facing power cuts this week after the company announced it would take the drastic measure in order to limit the risk of their power lines sparking serious fires. Read Full Article at
The Wall Street Journal › Finance › 2 months ago
PG&E said it may shut off power for more than 600,000 customers across parts of 30 California counties in an effort to reduce the risk of wildfires in these communities.
The New York Times › 3 weeks ago
About 50,000 homes and businesses across Northern California were without power on Wednesday during the latest planned outage instituted by utility Pacific Gas & Electric Co to guard against risk of wildfire during dry, windy weather.
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