This week, approximately 250,000 residents of California might suffer the effects of a strong wind as this will lead to a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS). PG&E warns its customers this week that they may have to shut off power supply in 19 counties due to a strong offshore wind. About 250,000 California residents will be affected by the Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) this week as strong wind which started on Wednesday morning only ended on Thursday morning, a release from the utility said. The affected areas include; the Sierra Foothills, North Valley and North Bay. Other parts of the Bay Area are not expected to be included, in the PSPS according to the release.
PG&E meteorologists are currently monitoring the wind and they anticipate sustained winds of up to 25 mph and gusts ranging from 30-50 mph. Fire weather watches have also been sent to the service area because vegetation is extremely dry and temperatures are 5-15 degrees above average.
However, the utility has started implementing PSPS this fire season to lessen fires caused by power equipment. The practice cuts electricity to avoid causing fires during high winds and dry weather. PG&E who serves about 5 million electric customers statewide and rolling outages have impacted several areas so far this fire season. In October, they cut off power to almost 800,000 customers in Northern California to lower the risk of wildfires. This shutoff cost the city of San Jose at least half a million dollars.
PG&E announced that it had reached a $11 billion settlement with insurance companies for claims curtailing from the devastating 2017 and 2018 wildfires in Northern California in September. Utility paid $1 billion in damages to local governments in June for blazes and linked to its power lines, poles and other equipment. PG&E chief executive Bill Johnson said during a California Public Utilities Commission meeting last month and added that these planned outages could continue for more than 10 years.