Tuesday, October 8, 2019

SECOND UPDATE: Shutdown to Hit Humboldt

Posted By on Tue, Oct 8, 2019 at 6:47 PM

UPDATE: PG&E has notified the county that “all customers” in Humboldt County will lose power at midnight due to a power shutoff in another county, affecting major transmission lines to Humboldt.

“Please prepare for an extended power outage. 9 1 1 should only be used for life threatening emergencies,” an alert from the county states. “The Sheriff's Office will issue more information when P G & E provides outage or restoration time estimates. Please check on family and neighbors with medical needs.”

UPDATE:

The Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services says it is preparing for the potential of a PG&E power shutdown due to gusty winds and dry conditions.

PG&E describes the region as being in the “potential scope of this PSPS, in addition to the 30 counties identified Monday.”

"The company has been notifying potentially impacted customers and will continue to do so, via automated calls, texts and emails. However, customers not impacted by the PSPS may experience power outages due to PG&E equipment damaged during this major wind event; those customers will not be notified in advance," the PG&E release states. "It is very possible that customers may be affected by a power shutoff even though they are not experiencing extreme weather conditions in their specific location. This is because the electric system relies on power lines working together to provide electricity across cities, counties and regions."


The county’s formal announcement came nearly seven hours after PG&E first notified the county that Humboldt was back on the potential shut-down list after previously having stated the North Coast was in the clear.

“Transmission lines that power Humboldt County could be affected as a result of a shutdown in another county. The shutdown could impact parts of Humboldt County within the next 24 hours,” the release states.

“Humboldt County is ready to respond to the effects of the power outage; however, the decision to turn off the power and the speed at which it is restored is managed solely by PG&E,” it continues. “The utility is working on a solution to generate power locally at its King Salmon power plant that would help offset the effects of any shutoff.”

The release states the OES has reached out including hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and other critical service providers and “911 dispatch have backup power and should remain active in the event of a power shutoff.”

Humboldt State also sent out a release stating the campus is monitoring the situation and will keep students and staff updated as more information becomes available.

Read the full releases from the county, HSU and PG&E at the end of the story.

PREVIOUS:

Parts of Humboldt County may be without power as part of a massive PG&E shutdown across the northern part of the state starting as early as midnight due to gusty winds and dry conditions.

click to enlarge NWS
  • NWS

The Humboldt County Office of Emergency Service wrote in a Facebook post that PG&E notified the office of the possibility around 9 a.m. but no further information was immediately available.

An update was expected around 1 p.m.

“We do not have any information from PG&E about what areas or how many customers may be impacted,” the post states. “We expect to have that information shortly and will update this post. PG&E will also start making notification calls to customers at 9:00 a.m. today. The earliest we have been advised that de-energization will begin is around midnight tonight, and some areas and counties will be shut down later tomorrow.”

The Eureka office of the National Weather Service reports that red flag conditions are expected this afternoon in portions of the county, raising the risk of wildfire on the two year anniversary of the devastating Tubbs Fire that swept through parts of Napa, Sonoma and Lake counties.

Gusty northeast winds across ridges are expected from Wednesday afternoon through Thursday morning. These winds combined with low humidity values will yield critical fire weather conditions over interior Mendocino County, southern Trinity County, and southeastern Humboldt County.

Multiple media reports indicate that the North Coast would not be alone in the dark, with hundreds of thousands slated to see power shut off in the Bay Area, as wells as parts of Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Lake, Mariposa, Mendocino, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, San Joaquin, Shasta, Sierra, Stanislaus, Tehama, Tuolumne, Yolo and Yuba counties.

Release from OES:
Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services (Sheriff’s OES) is preparing for the potential shutdown of PG&E power to areas of Humboldt County. On Tuesday, Oct. 8, PG&E notified the county that it may activate Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) protocols in neighboring counties due to extreme weather. Transmission lines that power Humboldt County could be affected as a result of a shutdown in another county. The shutdown could impact parts of Humboldt County within the next 24 hours.

Humboldt County is ready to respond to the effects of the power outage; however, the decision to turn off the power and the speed at which it is restored is managed solely by PG&E. The utility is working on a solution to generate power locally at its King Salmon power plant that would help offset the effects of any shutoff.

Sheriff’s OES has taken steps in preparation for a potential power shutdown after being notified by PG&E of their new PSPS program earlier this year. OES is currently operating the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and is actively coordinating with our operational area response partners and monitoring the situation.

Sheriff’s OES has notified community partners including hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, Humboldt Senior Resource Center, PACE, Open Door Community Health Centers and other critical service providers in the county. Adult Protective Services staff are working on contingency plans to protect the most vulnerable. Local emergency services including 911 dispatch have backup power and should remain active in the event of a power shutoff.

Learn more about PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutoffs and sign up for PSPS alerts at prepareforpowerdown.comOpens a New Window. or call 1-877-9000-PGE. PG&E is monitoring weather patterns and will provide updates to customers and Humboldt County when information is available.

Sheriff’s OES reminds residents and visitors that it is important to have an emergency plan in place. FEMA and the county recommend taking steps to prepare for a power outage, including:

Sign up for Humboldt ALERT at humboldtgov.org/alertsOpens a New Window. to receive safety information and be informed of imminent threats to personal safety or property, tailored to an address of your choosing.

To receive updated information from PG&E, update your contact information at prepareforpowerdown.comOpens a New Window..

Talk to your medical provider about a power outage plan for medical devices powered by electricity and refrigerated medicines. Plan for batteries and other alternatives to meet your needs when the power goes out.

Many medications are still usable for two to three days at room temperature, including insulin, which can keep for 28 to 30 days. However, if you are in doubt, please be sure to check with your medical provider.

Review the supplies that are available in case of a power outage. Have flashlights with extra batteries for every household member. Have enough nonperishable food and water.

Use a thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer so you can know the temperature when the power is restored. Throw out food if the temperature is 40 degrees or higher.

Keep mobile phones and other electric equipment charged and gas tanks full.

Know how to manually open electric garage doors and gates.

For more information, including what to do during a power outage, visit prepareforpowerdown.comOpens a New Window.



Read the release from HSU:

Due to weather that poses a potential fire hazard in neighboring counties, PG&E may shut off power throughout Humboldt County as soon as tonight.


The possible county-wide outage may last up to five days.


As a precautionary measure, the University is preparing for a possible outage. The University will keep you updated with information on addressing critical needs — such as food and housing— and whether classes will be canceled.


In the event of an outage, updates will be available on Humboldt State’s main homepage at humboldt.edu and (707) 826-INFO (4636). Those with an active HSU email address will receive an email notification. You will also receive an HSU Alert text if you registered your cell phone number. You can sign up to receive text alerts at humboldt.edu/myhumboldt. You can also sign up for PG&E alerts.


Please make sure your cellphones and other critical electronic devices are fully charged.


Employees should check with their supervisors on whether to report to work if the power is out.

Read the release from PG&E:
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – As a precautionary measure to reduce wildfire risk during the forecasted severe wind event, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) confirmed that it will implement a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) in portions of 34 northern, central and coastal counties, affecting electric service for nearly 800,000 customers.

PG&E expects to begin turning off power in some areas early Wednesday, just after midnight. The power will be turned off to communities in stages, depending on local timing of the severe wind conditions, beginning with counties in the northern part of the state.

“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,” said Michael Lewis, PG&E’s senior vice president of Electric Operations.

Customer notifications and impact

The company has been notifying potentially impacted customers and will continue to do so, via automated calls, texts and emails. However, customers not impacted by the PSPS may experience power outages due to PG&E equipment damaged during this major wind event; those customers will not be notified in advance.

It is very possible that customers may be affected by a power shutoff even though they are not experiencing extreme weather conditions in their specific location. This is because the electric system relies on power lines working together to provide electricity across cities, counties and regions.

Portions of Kern, Humboldt, Trinity and Marin counties have been added to the potential scope of this PSPS, in addition to the 30 counties identified Monday. Customers can find the full list of impacted counties, cities and communities at www.pge.com/pspsupdates.

Estimated time of restoration

Overall, based on the latest weather forecasts and models, PG&E anticipates that this weather event will last through midday Thursday, with peak winds forecasted from Wednesday morning through Thursday morning and reaching 40 to 55 mph, with isolated gusts up to 60 to 70 mph.

Before restoring power, PG&E must inspect its equipment for damage and make any necessary repairs. That process cannot begin until the severe weather event has subsided.

Given the prolonged period during which the wind event will unfold, and the large number of power line miles that will need to be inspected before restoration, customers are being asked to prepare for an extended outage.

PG&E will work with state and local agencies to provide updated restoration timelines following the conclusion of the severe weather event.

Community Resource Centers
To support customers in the affected areas, PG&E will open Community Resource Centers in several locations beginning on Wednesday, October 9, at 8 a.m. The centers will remain open during daylight hours only. Restrooms, bottled water, electronic-device charging and air-conditioned seating for up to 100 will be available at these facilities.

Centers will be opened at the locations below:


County City Location
Butte Oroville Bird Street School, 1421 Bird St, Oroville 95965
Butte Magalia 14144 Lakeridge Court, Magalia 95954
El Dorado Placerville El Dorado Fairgrounds 100 Placerville Drive, Placerville 95667
Lake Clear Lake Clearlake Senior Center 3245 Bowers Avenue, Clearlake 95422
Napa Napa 1001 Fairgrounds Drive, Vallejo 94589
Napa Calistoga Calistoga Fairgrounds - 1601 N. Oak Calistoga 94515
Santa Clara San Jose Avaya Stadium 1123 Coleman Avenue, San Jose 95110
Nevada Grass Valley Sierra College Grass Valley 250 Sierra College Drive, Grass Valley 95945
Contra Costa San Ramon Bishop Ranch Parking Lot – 2600 Camino Ramon, San Ramon 94583
Calaveras Arnold Meadowmont Shopping Center - 2182 HWY 4, Arnold 95223
San Mateo Half Moon Bay Pasta Moon Restaurant, 845 Main St Half Moon Bay 94019
Placer Auburn Gold Country Fairgrounds 1273 High Street Auburn 95603
Shasta, Tehama Redding, Cottonwood, Red Bluff Shasta College, 11555 Old Oregon Trail Redding 96003
Solano Vacaville Mission Church 6391 Leisure Town Road, Vacaville 95687
Sonoma Santa Rosa, Sonoma Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building 1351 Maple Ave, Santa Rosa 95404
Alameda Oakland Merritt College LOT B – Leona St., Oakland 94508
Tuolumne Sonora Mother Lode Fairgrounds 220 Southgate Drive, Sonora 95370
Santa Cruz Aptos Twin Lakes Church 2701 Cabrillo College Dr, Aptos 95003
Amador Pioneer Mace Meadows Golf Course, 26570 Fairway Drive Pioneer 95666
Mendocino Ukiah 1775 N. State Street, Ukiah 95482
Yolo Winters Next to PG&E Gas Academy - Intersection of E. Grant Avenue & Timber Crest Road, Winters 95694
Colusa, Glenn Williams, Orland 839 Newville Road, Orland 95963
Mariposa Coulterville Coulterville Fire Dept - 10293 Ferry Road, Coulterville 95311
Sierra Sierra City Loganville Campground parking lot - HWY 49, Sierra City 96125
Stanislaus Westley Westley Hotel - 8615 CA-33, Westley 95387
Plumas La Porte 2140 Main St. La Porte 95981
El Dorado El Dorado Hills Rolling Hills Christian Church 800 White Rock Road, El Dorado Hills 95762
Yuba Oregon House 9185 Marysville Road, Oregon House 95962

How customers can prepare

As part of PSPS preparedness efforts, PG&E is asking customers to:

• Update their contact information at pge.com/mywildfirealerts or by calling 1-866-743- 6589 during normal business hours. PG&E will use this information to alert customers through automated calls, texts, and emails, when possible, prior to, and during, a PSPS.
• Plan for medical needs like medications that require refrigeration or devices that need power.
• Identify backup charging methods for phones and keep hard copies of emergency numbers.
• Build or restock your emergency kit with flashlights, fresh batteries, first aid supplies and cash.
• Keep in mind elderly family members, younger children and pets. Information and tips including a safety plan checklist are available at pge.com/psps.
• Continue to monitor PG&E’s new weather forecasting web page at pge.com/weather which is a dedicated page with weather forecasting information and a daily 7-day PSPS lookahead.

Generator safety

• Backup electric generators can be a part of any preparedness plan, but they can also pose unique safety hazards.
• It’s important to understand how to safely operate your generator before an emergency occurs. This means doing regular safety checks and being sure you have enough fuel to last a few days. If you don’t understand how to use your generator, you risk damaging your property, endangering your life and endangering the lives of others.
• Position your generator where its exhaust can vent safely to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, which can be fatal. Never run a portable generator in the garage or in the rain, and never store generator fuel in the house.
• Additional tips on the safe use of generators can be found at PG&E’s Safety Action Center at www.safetyactioncenter.pge.com.




Read the email PG&E sent out today to some Humboldt County customers below:



Dear Valued Customer,

To protect public safety, PG&E may turn off your power overnight. Power will remain off until weather conditions improve and it is safe to restore service. To view a list of your impacted locations visit pgepsps.com.
Here is what you need to know:
  • Please have your emergency plan ready
  • If you have a backup generator, please do a safety check and make sure you have enough fuel to last a few days. Generator safety tips can be found here
  • Power will remain off until weather conditions improve and it is safe to restore service
  • We will continue to monitor conditions and will contact you with further updates
  • In most cases, we would expect to be able to restore power within 24 to 48 hours after weather has passed
  • Depending on weather conditions or if any repairs are needed, outages (weather event plus restoration time) could last longer than 48 hours
  • For planning purposes, we suggest preparing for multiple-day outages
  • If you see a downed power line, assume it is energized and extremely dangerous and report it immediately by calling 911

For more information, including regular updates, visit pge.com or call 1-800-743-5002.

Thank you,

Pacific Gas and Electric Company
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About The Author

Kimberly Wear

Bio:
Kimberly Wear is the assistant editor of the North Coast Journal.

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