California Power Outages: Fire Danger Prompts Utility to Cut Electricity – The New York Times
Large swaths of central and Northern California were expected to be without electricity on Wednesday as the state’s largest utility planned to cut power as a safety precaution. The utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, said that around 800,000 customers would be affected in stages, from the doorstep of Silicon Valley to the foothills of the Sierra.
Why is the power being cut?
Extreme winds are expected on Wednesday and Thursday. Peak wildfire season has arrived in California, with a combination of high winds and low humidity creating conditions for potentially catastrophic fires. Pacific Gas & Electric says it is proactively shutting off power to prevent its equipment from sparking a blaze.
The company has been found responsible for dozens of wildfires in recent years, including the state’s deadliest, an inferno in and around the town of Paradise last November that killed 86 people.
Over the summer the utility turned off power to less-populated areas in Northern California, but this is by far the most extensive shut-off the company has carried out, affecting large parts of the San Francisco Bay Area.