By JOSH FRIEDMAN
PG&E may shut off power on Sunday for 1 million or more individuals across Central and Northern California as part of another preemptive move to prevent wildfires.
The shutoff is forecasted to impact 466,000 homes and businesses, or more than 1 million people. The planned outage is expected to impact 38 counties, including Monterey and Kern counties. San Luis Obispo County is not on the list of counties where the outage is expected to occur.
Company officials are citing dry conditions and high winds as reason to cut power to homes and businesses. PG&E says the conditions pose an increased risk of damage to the electric system that has the potential to ignite fires in areas with dry vegetation.
The outage is expected to begin early Sunday and possibly last until Tuesday.
PG&E Interim President Michael Lewis said the outage could be the largest Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) this year.
“Initial forecasts indicate this could be our largest PSPS event this year so far,” Lewis said. “Our highest priority is to keep customers and communities safe and execute this event according to our plan and to then quickly restore power to all affected customers when it is safe to do so.”
PG&E, which emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July, has been found responsible for multiple wildfires that occurred in California in recent years, including the 2018 Camp Fire, the deadliest and most destructive blaze in state history. The utility has since adopted a habit of shutting off power at times of high wildfire risk.