PG&E to shut off power tonight to nearly 800,000 customers in Northern, Central California

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PG&E will shut off power to nearly 800,000 customers in Northern and Central California starting around midnight Tuesday or early Wednesday morning to prevent wildfires during a forecast of high winds in dry areas, the utility said at 1 p.m. Tuesday.

There will be about 262,000 Sonoma County residents that lose power, county officials said.

The utility anticipates winds between 40 mph and 70 mph Wednesday and Thursday, prompting its largest planned shut-off to date to try to reduce the risk of its equipment igniting a fire. With many customer accounts serving more than one person, the planned outage could affect well over 1 million people.

Parts of 34 counties will be included, PG&E said in a prepared statement. The utility's latest list shows an outage is planned for 26,430 customers in Lake County, 6,000 in Mendocino, 32,124 in Napa, 32,862 in Solano and 66,289 in Sonoma.

PG&E expects to start restoring power Thursday around noon, and the restoration could take five days to complete.

“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,” Michael Lewis, PG&E’s senior vice president of electric operations, said in the statement.

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