Oct. 15 (UPI) -- Pacific Gas and Electric Co. cut off electricity to about 60,000 customers throughout 12 counties in Northern California in anticipation of strong winds and dangerous fire conditions.
PG&E issued a statement Monday afternoon stating it plans to restore power to 70 percent of customers in impacted areas by midnight after crews spent the day inspecting power lines and equipment to identify damage that occurred overnight.
The shutdown came Sunday evening amid forecasts of dangerous conditions, including a widespread red flag warning issued by the National Weather Service, sustained winds above 25 mph with gusts greater than 45 mph, dry-fuel and live vegetation conditions, and observations by field crews.
"The safety of our customers and the communities we serve is PG&E's top priority. We know how much our customers rely on electric service and only considered temporarily turning off power in the interest of safety, and as a last resort during extreme weather conditions. We appreciate our customers' patience as restoration progresses," said Pat Hogan, PG&E's senior vice president of Electric Operations.
PG&E sent alerts to residents who would be impacted 48 hours, 24 hours and just prior to shutting off the power and shutoffs rolled through the North Bay and Sierra through Sunday evening.
In the past, PG&E has avoided preemptively shutting off power, citing risks that it could leave police, firefighters and hospitals with no electricity during an emergency.