PG&E warns it may cut power to properties in Sonoma, Napa amid wildfire risk

Utility said dry, windy weather are increasing potential for power lines to ignite blaze

San Francisco /
Sep.September 20, 2021 02:33 PM
Power lines that were partially burned by the Dixie fire (Getty)
Power lines that were partially burned by the Dixie fire (Getty)

PG&E is warning homeowners and all residents in Sonoma, Napa and other Bay Area counties it may have to temporarily cut power with dry and windy weather bringing an increased threat of wildfires.

In court filings, the utility said the measure was needed because of the risk that power lines could ignite more fires, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The company said “the entire area under PSPS [public safety power shutoffs] consideration is also in extreme to exceptional drought currently,” the company said.

PG&E officials said it will cut power more aggressively to properties in fire-prone areas when threats are detected, according to the report. The utility will use new technologies installed after the massive Dixie fire ignited in mid-July, the report noted.

The public safety power shutoff program was announced in response to concerns from U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup, who questioned why PG&E didn’t immediately cut power when a problem was detected in the Feather River Canyon — where the Dixie fire began, the report noted. It wasn’t until nine hours after an initial report of an abnormal current in Butte County that a PG&E worker found a broken power line and fire on the ground.

Almost two months after it began, the Dixie fire destroyed nearly 1,300 structures and burned almost 1 million acres across northern California. It was about 90 percent contained as of Monday, according to Cal Fire.

[SFC] — Victoria Pruitt






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