SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Electricity may be shut off to about 54,000 Northern California utility customers this week to try to prevent power lines from sparking and igniting new wildfires during a predicted new round of gusty, hot and dry weather.
Customers in parts of 19 counties and in two tribal communities were notified Monday of a potential public safety power shutoff starting as early as Wednesday evening, Pacific Gas & Electric said.
A similar power shutoff was implemented last week. No major new fires were reported.
The utility has better targeted outages to limit impact after it was criticized in 2019 for cutting power to about 800,000 customers — about 2 million people — for days.
Meanwhile a court-appointed investigator found PG&E is falling behind in efforts to trim trees to keep limbs from crashing into power lines and igniting fires.
The investigator, Mark Filip, said the utility’s “enhanced vegetation management” program appeared to backslide this year after making strides in late 2019, the Sacramento Bee reported. Filip also said PG&E’s equipment inspection program appears to be flawed and badly prioritized.
PG&E is under probation following its conviction on felony charges in a fatal 2010 pipeline explosion in San Bruno.
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