Thursday, October 24, 2019

UPDATE: Humboldt Expected to be Impacted by PG&E Blackout Saturday

Posted By on Thu, Oct 24, 2019 at 1:03 PM

UPDATE:
The Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services is warning that PG&E currently expects 2,188 Humboldt County customers to lose power Saturday night as a result of local fire conditions.

The office says it does not yet have more information about where the outages will be, when the power will be cut or how long the shutdown will last, but warns that high-wind conditions are expected to come late Saturday evening and may persist into Monday.

“While this event is currently expected to affect a much smaller number of customers, all Humboldt County residents should prepare for the possibility of a more widespread outage than currently planned, just in case,” an OES Facebook post states.

See the full post copied below our original report.

PREVIOUSLY:
The Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services is still awaiting information from PG&E about another round of Public Safety Power Shutoffs in Northern California slated to begin Oct. 26 and whether they will impact Humboldt County.

Emergency Services Manager Dorie Lanni was slated to join a PG&E conference call at 12:30 p.m. to get the latest from the company on its plans but warned that if she doesn’t get a definitive answer the Office of Emergency Services will warn residents to prepare to lose power. The office’s Facebook account offered a similar warning.

click to enlarge Humboldt Bay Power Plant. - YULIA WEEKS
  • Yulia Weeks
  • Humboldt Bay Power Plant.
“If it is still unclear after the afternoon announcement whether Humboldt County will be affected, we recommend planning as if there will be an outage so we’re not waiting for confirmed information hours before we lose power,” the post reads. “Stay tuned!”

The office further notes that wind gusts of up to 45 mph are forecast at higher elevations in Humboldt County on Saturday night, adding that local fire conditions had nothing to do with Humboldt County’s 28-hour blackout on Oct. 8 and Oct. 9. That blackout was caused by a shutoff in Shasta County, which disabled PG&E’s transmission lines into Humboldt County. (A company vice president also indicated that the blackout may have been partly due to the company’s performing maintenance on one of the two lines at the time of the blackout, though attempts to clarify that statement have proven unsuccessful.)

It's worth noting that a stream of misinformation hit the North Coast in advance of the last blackout, with PG&E first warning Humboldt officials that the county would be effected, then saying it would not, then saying it might be and only confirming it would, in fact, be impacted about six hours prior to the loss of power.

At this point, there’s no estimate of how long a blackout might last, if there is one, so residents are advised to check back for updates and prepare for the worst.

Check out our coverage of the past blackout here and check back for updates.


From OES:
10/24 Afternoon Update:
PG&E currently expects that approximately 2,188 Humboldt County customer connections will be de-energized on Saturday 10/26 as a result of wind-driven local fire conditions. We will post the outage map as soon as PG&E provides it, and it will also be available on their website. They are unable to provide specific timing or a total duration for the local shutdown, but the wind conditions are expected late Saturday evening, power may be shut down several hours in advance, and wind conditions may persist through Sunday and into Monday before restoration can begin.
We will continue to provide updates as we receive new information. While this event is currently expected to affect a much smaller number of customers, all Humboldt County residents should prepare for the possibility of a more widespread outage than currently planned, just in case.
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Thadeus Greenson is the news editor of the North Coast Journal.

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