PG&E confirmed that it has implemented the first phase of a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) across significant portions of its service area in response to a widespread, severe wind event. Pacific time and extended the blackout to 234,000 more customers, said the utility, which was considering a third phase for 4,600 more dwellings and businesses. Officials warned that Southern California could be next as the brutal Santa Ana winds are forecast to begin blowing Thursday evening/Friday afternoon.
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti confirmed evacuation orders for some residents after the high winds pushed the Saddleridge fire across two freeways and into neighborhoods.
The largest US utility has turned power back on for almost a fifth of the almost 2 million people who lost power in California over a two-day span in a deliberate move to prevent its equipment from sparking.More news: Flustered Federer says fans inspired him to reach Shanghai quarters
The power outage affects Northern and Central California, including most of the Bay Area counties.
PG&E, though, suggested it was already seeing the wisdom of its decision borne out. "If they were energized, they could've ignited". More than 3 million people may be eventually affected, based on city estimates and the average household size. By Thursday evening, the weather had eased and the number of people in the dark was down to about 510,000.
In an attempt to prevent its customers from running out of power, Powerpacks are now getting ready to be installed at Superchargers stations in the affected area.More news: Explosion reported on Iranian oil tanker off coast of Saudi Arabia
"What has occurred in the last 48 hours is unacceptable", Newsom said.
Southern California utilities had been hesitating to shut down electric grids on a massive scale in an effort to stem a customer backlash.
San Diego Gas and Electric was one of the pioneers in turning off the power to their customers when the wind blows and has been doing it for years. Neighbors arrived at the scene first, dousing the flames and saving homes.More news: NASA chief set to tour SpaceX factory
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