Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) was expected to return power on Tuesday to around 24,000 customers that lost power Monday following a public safety power shutoff in several Northern California counties.
PG&E turned off power Monday night for public safety to customers in the Sierra foothills, which impacted Butte, Nevada and Yuba counties, because of “dry and windy conditions, with increased fire risk.”
Crews Tuesday planned to visually inspect each mile of its power lines in the affected areas to ensure they were free from damage and safe to energize. Inspections were to take place during daylight hours “and in most cases we would expect to be able to restore power within 24-48 hours after the dry and windy weather has passed.
“However, depending on weather conditions or if any repairs are needed, outages (weather event plus restoration time) could last longer than 48 hours,” the utility said.
Vice President Sumeet Singh, who runs the community wildfire programs, said PG&E only considers applying the temporary shutoffs in the interest of safety when the conditions of dry hot air and gusty winds raise the fire risk dangers.
The San Francisco-based combination utility stressed that weather conditions can change quickly, so with an "abundance of caution," it began contacting customers in the affected areas on Saturday. They can then track progress on the most up-to-date PSPS information online.
Southern California Edison Co. called a similar wildfire preventive event last week on up to 14,000 customers in Inyo and Mono counties.
Spokesperson David Song said wind, temperature, humidity, and other issues go into the decision to declare an event, "but we don't sneak up on our customers, we talk to them for a day or two in advance to alert them to the possibility of a shutoff."
California's third major power utility, San Diego Gas and Electric Co., last Friday formed an advisory council of local leaders to provide recommendations on how the utility can better protect the region from wildfires.