California Electric Company Announces It’s Turning Off Power for Thousands of Residents Amid Heat Wave and Raging Fires

By: Julia Mehalko | Published: Jul 01, 2024

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has announced it will turn off power for thousands of California residents in the coming days amid ongoing heat waves and raging fires seen throughout the state.

According to the electric company, these moves must be made to try to limit potential wildfires amid very hot days and high winds.

Thousands of Customers Affected

PG&E has explained that about 12,000 customers in eight different Northern California counties will be affected by this possible Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) this week.

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An aerial view of a neighborhood in California.

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This potential PSPS is set to officially begin early this week on Tuesday morning.

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Counties Impacted

So far, only those in the Colusa, Glenn, Lake, Napa, Shasta, Solano, Tehama, and Yolo counties of Northern California will be impacted by this PSPS.

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For the most part, most of these customers that will have their power shut off will be located within Shasta County. Shasta County alone may see almost 8,900 customers without power in the coming days.

Shutoffs Vary by County

PG&E also explained that Tehama County may see about 1,900 customers experience this planned power shutoff. However, less than 100 residents in Lake, Napa, and Solano counties will have no electricity.

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Large electric towers seen in California during sunset.

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The utility company also stressed that customers can use their outage map to better understand where these shutoffs may happen.

A Large PSPS

This rather large PSPS comes as parts of California are undergoing both another heat wave and dangerous wildfires.

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Jeff Smith, a spokesperson for PG&E, said, “We have not actually had to do one on a large scale in a couple of years.”

Why PG&E Is Shutting Off Power

According to the utility company, this planned PSPS is happening because they are concerned about the high winds that these counties may see in the next few days.

An up-close look at power lines in California.

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These winds could cause tree branches or other forms of large debris to hit electric lines. If these lines are live, then this could potentially cause devastating wildfires. Therefore, they feel it’s best to shut off the power for the time being.

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A Red Flag Warning

In Northern California, where these counties experiencing this PSPS are located, a Red Flag Warning has been issued.

A view of a wildfire in California seen from a neighborhood at night.

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This warning begins on Monday night and won’t come to an end until possibly Wednesday evening. The warning was initiated because of the strong winds and current dry conditions the valley is experiencing, which could increase the possibility of fires breaking out.

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How Long Power Will Be Shut Off

PG&E has stated that they will likely start shutting off power to these customers somewhere around 2:30 a.m. and 4 a.m. on Tuesday morning.

Electric lines seen underneath a clear blue sky in California.

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The electric company will then restore power to its customers by 2 p.m. on Wednesday.

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Community Assistance

Thankfully, those affected by these power shutoffs — which come during yet another Californian heat wave — can rely on community assistance.

A view of a home in a neighborhood in California in the daytime.

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About six different community resource centers will be open in these counties, providing restrooms, Wi-Fi, air conditioning, water, snacks, blankets, device charging, and more.

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High Temperatures

The beginning of this week is set to be incredibly hot for those living in Northern California. Monday officially marks the beginning of another heat wave in the area, and temperatures are anticipated to reach above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

A California sunset seen above mountains.

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Temperatures start strong and high on Monday — and are only expected to rise as the week progresses.

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Fourth of July Events

Because of these excessive heat warnings, as well as the concern that fires may naturally start, officials are warning residents of California to be careful during their Fourth of July parties and events.

A person holding an American flag and a firework at night.

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Authorities are recommending that people limit their outdoor activities, as well as their fireworks usage.

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Fires in California

This upcoming heat wave also comes as parts of California are dealing with raging fires. In Fontana, firefighters are currently battling a 400-acre Sierra fire.

A wildfire in California seen in the evening.

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While Southern California deals with these fires, Fresno County farther north also continues to deal with a Basin fire. This specific fire is now one of the two largest fires in California.

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