Fearing Wildfires, PG&E Cuts Power to 500,000 in California – The New York Times

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SAN FRANCISCO — Large swaths of central and Northern California were without electricity on Wednesday as the state’s largest utility began cutting power as a safety precaution.

The utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, said that as of early Wednesday morning power had been cut to around 500,000 of the 800,000 customers who will be affected. Once fully implemented on Wednesday the outages will span from the doorstep of Silicon Valley to the foothills of the Sierra.

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.

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