Monday, October 21, 2019

Humboldt Not Currently Included in PG&E Outage Warning

Posted By on Mon, Oct 21, 2019 at 11:09 AM

click to enlarge No one wants to do this again. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • No one wants to do this again.
PG&E is warning of another round of Public Safety Power Shutoffs due to expected dry and windy conditions Wednesday and Thursday, but does not include Humboldt County on its list.

In a Facebook post, the Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services acknowledges the “healthy skepticism” local residents may have about the company’s announcement “since we were also not supposed to be impacted last time.”

That is, of course, referring to the Oct. 9 blackout that hit the entire county with little warning after PG&E realized late in the game that Humboldt was going to go dark. The action closed down many businesses, causing runs on food and gas, and left the region’s most vulnerable residents in a precarious situation — one that put lives at risk had the outage continued much longer.

“We will update as soon as any new information is available or if conditions change,” the OES post states.
PG&E’s release states any PSPS is “expected to be significantly smaller in terms of scope and impact” than the one that involved a huge swath of the state’s northern section.

“Portions of counties that may be impacted include, but are not limited to: Amador, Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, San Joaquin, Solano, Sonoma, Tehama, Yolo and Yuba,” according to the release.

The company says updates will be provided “several times a day.”

Read the full PG&E release below:


SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Pacific Gas and Electric Company activated its Emergency Operations Center at 6 p.m. Sunday night to monitor a potentially strong and dry offshore wind event Wednesday and Thursday of this week. PG&E’s meteorological and operations teams continue to actively monitor the weather system that could impact portions of the Sierra Foothills and the North Bay.

Due to the forecasted extreme weather conditions and dry fuels, PG&E is considering proactively turning off power for safety, and implementing a Public Safety Power Shutoff, across portions of 17 Sierra Foothills and North Bay counties. At this time, no PSPS has been called, and PG&E will provide updates several times a day.

Portions of counties that may be impacted include, but are not limited to: Amador, Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, San Joaquin, Solano, Sonoma, Tehama, Yolo and Yuba. This potential event, if initiated, is expected to be significantly smaller in terms of scope and impact than the Oct. 9-12 PSPS event.

The main period of weather risk is forecast to last about 18 to 24 hours, from Wednesday evening through mid-day Thursday. The dry, windy weather pattern is expected to unfold across the Northern Sierra, Sacramento Valley and the North Bay. The start of the event is more than 72 hours away, and PG&E’s meteorologists will continue to study updated weather forecast models 24/7 over coming days.
PG&E has opened its Emergency Operations Center in San Francisco. The status of PG&E’s 7-Day PSPS Potential Forecast has moved to “PSPS Watch,” indicating that there is a “reasonable chance of executing a PSPS to reduce public safety risk in a given geographic zone due to a combination of adverse weather and dry fuel conditions.”

How Customers Can Prepare
As part of PSPS preparedness efforts, PG&E is asking customers to:
Update your contact information at www.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 Public Safety Power Shutoff.

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 family members who are elderly, younger children and pets. Information and tips including a safety plan checklist are available at pge.com/wildfiresafety.

Learn more about wildfire risk and what to do before, during and after an emergency to keep your family safe at PG&E’s Safety Action Center.
While customers in high fire-threat areas are more likely to be affected by a Public Safety Power Shutoff event, any of PG&E's more than 5 million electric customers could have their power shut off because the energy system relies on power lines working together to provide electricity across cities, counties and regions.

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.
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Kimberly Wear

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

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