Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has begun rolling blackouts in California, which will affect its customers in the northern and central parts of the state. The blackouts are an attempt to stem any wildfire risks as windy and dry conditions sweep California.
In total as many as 800,000 customers in Northern and Central California will have their power shut off at various times between Wednesday and Thursday. As a result, several school districts and universities have canceled classes.
— PG&E (@PGE4Me) October 9, 2019
To find out if you’re going to be affected by the blackouts, the San Fransisco Chronicle has published an interactive map, which allows you to click on your location to view the blackout’s start time, cause, and status in your area.
The blackouts will occur in three phases as of now:
- The first phase includes approximately 513,000 customers beginning at 12 a.m. Wednesday morning in the counties of Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Solano, Sonoma, Tehama, Trinity, Yolo, and Yuba.
- The second phase begins around 12 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon. It will affect approximately 234,000 customers in Alameda, Alpine, Contra Costa, Mariposa, San Joaquin, San Mateo, and Santa Clara.
- The third and (at the moment) final phase will affect approximately 42,000 customers in the southernmost portions of PG&E’s service area. However, the company says specific locations are still to be determined.
One of the notable exceptions on the list for Northern California is the San Fransisco area (for now, at least). However, if you are in an area that will be affected, officials suggest people who require refrigerated medicine or life-critical devices to be powered seek alternative power arrangements, such as battery-powered generators.
Announcing the blackouts, Michael Lewis, PG&E’s senior vice president of electric operations, said, “The safety of our customers and the communities we serve is our most important responsibility, which is why PG&E has decided to turn power off to customers during this widespread, severe wind event. 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.”