PG&E shuts off, restores power to some customers amid windy conditions
Nov 03, 2023
CHICO — Roughly 8,400 customers are expected to lose power throughout eight California counties as PG&E conducts weather-related shut-offs.
The first wave of shut-offs started at 2 a.m. Wednesday with the bulk of the power being shut off by 5:30 a.m., according to a press release issued by PG&E.
Based on the shut-off schedule provided by PG&E, Butte County, along with Tehama and Shasta counties, saw shut-offs at 2 a.m. followed by Colusa, Glenn, Napa and Yolo counties at 4 a.m.
Additionally, Lake County saw outages at 5:30 a.m.
PG&E’s numbers show that 349 customers in Butte County lost power, of which 23 were medical baseline customers. For Glenn County, 365 customers lost power with 19 being medical baseline customers. Tehama County’s power outage was significantly larger with 3,249 customers losing power and a total of 352 medical baseline customers going without.
The release said PG&E is working to restore power to these areas and expects to do so later in the day.
PG&E suggested that customers turn off all electric, heat-producing appliances such as air conditioners, washers, dryers, ovens and irons. Cordless phones will not work, but cell phones and hard-wired phones will still be usable. Other electronics such as televisions and computers should be unplugged.
Another suggestion was to leave a lamp on as an indication of when the power is restored.
At 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, PG&E announced that power would be restored after giving an “all clear” notice. In the announcement, the company stated that crews would begin patrolling lines and equipment where the shut-offs occurred.
“The sole purpose of a (public safety power shut-off) is to reduce the risk of major wildfires during severe weather,” the release said. “While a PSPS is an important wildfire safety tool, PG&E understands that losing power disrupts lives. We initiate a PSPS event when the weather forecast is for such severe weather that people’s safety, lives, homes and businesses may be in danger of wildfires.”
By 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, no fires had broken out in Butte County during the wind event, said Cal Fire-Butte County Division Chief Sean Norman. Up until Wednesday, red flag warnings have been few and far between.
“Typically, in the summer months we tend to have more warnings but this year we’ve had few red flag warnings because it’s been such a moderate summer and we had such a late and long spring,” Norman said. “What we’re looking at today is a combination of low humidity, high temperatures and a strong northern wind which prompted the warning.”
Norman said Cal Fire is currently at peak staffing and it will likely remain that way until November or December. Additionally, Butte County has a crew from Madera County, further filling out its personnel count.
The event is expected to move out quickly toward the east as the week wraps up and temperatures are expected to get cooler by the weekend.
In the meantime, however, Norman said people should pay attention to what they are doing in relation to the dry weather and avoid using equipment that could cause a spark or driving vehicles on and near dry grass.
Those tired of the heat might be happy to know that the temperatures are expected to drop by Friday and remain in the 70s through the weekend.
Karl Swanberg, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Sacramento Office, said Thursday morning in the valley will stay in the low 90s, with the foothills dropping to the upper 80s. He added that Thursday will also likely bring more smoke and haze through Butte County thanks to some light easterly winds.
Thursday night is expected to drop down to the upper 50s with winds returning and gusts up to 30 miles per hour late Thursday evening and early Friday morning.
Clouds will begin moving in on Friday and bring the possibility of rain showers in the afternoon hours.
“It’s going to cool off with temperatures in the 70s during the day,” Swanberg said. “So much cooler.”
The rain chances and temperatures in the 70s will last through Saturday as well before they slightly increase on Sunday to the mid 80s in the valley and the mid 70s in the foothills.
Sign up for email newsletters