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Wildfire safety blackouts in California by PG&E could leave homes without power till Friday

A return of bone-dry humidity and gusty winds Wednesday in Northern Calfornia during the peak of wildfire season is expected to result in power outages for tens of thousands of customers that could last until Friday.

The nation’s largest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), warned it may begin power shutoffs by Wednesday evening to as many as 54,000 customers in 24 counties.

“We really view it as a last resort option,” Mark Quinlan, the company’s incident commander, said at a briefing on Tuesday.

POWER OUTAGES IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA MAY IMPACT 50,000 PG&E CUSTOMERS IN SAFETY SHUTOFFS

Wind gusts possibly hitting 55 mph have spurred the National Weather Service (NWS) to issue a red-flag warning from 5 a.m. Wednesday through Friday morning.

While PG&E said it will make a final decision sometime on Wednesday morning whether to implement the pre-emptive electricity cuts, it advised that it began its one-day advance notifications to customers.

Customers in portions of the following counties are being notified of potential shutoffs: Alameda, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Humboldt, Lake, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Solano, Sonoma, Tehama, Trinity, Yolo and Yuba.

The Public Safety Power Shutoff is an effort by the utility to prevent fires from being started by damaged power lines fouled or knocked down in high winds. The utility also has deployed generators and other measures to keep electricity flowing in some areas that might otherwise have lost power during the outages, according to Quinlan.

If the forecast unfolds as planned, there will be two main waves of when customers lose electricity.

CALIFORNIA UTILITY USING ‘SMARTER, SHORTER’ TACTIC FOR BLACKOUTS TO PREVENT WILDFIRES

About 33,000 homes and

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Potential blackouts could leave California homes without power until Friday

A dangerous combination of fast winds and low humidity at the height of fire season is expected to prompt power outages for tens of thousands of Northern California homes and businesses starting Wednesday and lasting potentially into Friday.

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Strong wind storm reportedly kills one, knocks out power for thousands of Puget Sound homes

Strong wind gusts whipped through the Puget Sound area and down the coast Tuesday, snapping branches and taking down utility poles, and reportedly killing one person and wiping out power for thousands of homes.

Wind gusts ranged from 30 to 40 mph throughout most of the region, with peak gusts at 48 mph in Seattle, said meteorologist Matthew Cullen of the National Weather Service Seattle. The wind storm came from a very strong low-pressure system that moved into northern Vancouver Island in British Columbia earlier Tuesday, combined with a front that extended across the region, he said.

Friday Harbor also saw 48 mph winds, while Olympia and Quillayute hit 45 to 46 mph gusts.

“It was pretty consistent up and down the coast,” Cullen said.

The person who died during the windstorm was clearing out a driveway on the Key Peninsula when a tree fell on them, Key Peninsula Fire spokeswoman Anne Nesbit told Q13 News Tuesday. No further information was immediately available.

Puget Sound Energy had responded to more than 77,000 outages by 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, caused primarily by tree branches blown into power lines, the utility service said. Seattle City Light reported more than 14,000 outages in southeast Seattle, northwest Seattle and Shoreline on Tuesday afternoon, though most had been restored by the evening.

State transportation officials also shut down several highways — including Highway 162 near Orting, Highway 121 in Tumwater and Highway 167 near Tacoma — Tuesday to clear away downed power lines and debris, the state Department of Transportation said on Twitter.

Cullen said the gusts were expected to continue to wind down as Tuesday night progressed and stay calmer on Wednesday.

Some showers are expected with a light breeze Wednesday, while Thursday should stay mostly dry with some morning clouds that are expected to

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Potential PG&E blackouts could leave California homes without power until Friday

A dangerous combination of fast winds and low humidity at the height of fire season is expected to prompt power outages for tens of thousands of Northern California homes and businesses starting Wednesday and lasting potentially into Friday.



a tree with a mountain in the background: PG&E apprentice Oscar Rodulfo works to restore power along Los Alamos Rd. in Santa Rosa, Calif., on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020. Customers throughout the region could face power shutoffs later this week as red flag fire warnings take effect.


© Noah Berger / Special To The Chronicle

PG&E apprentice Oscar Rodulfo works to restore power along Los Alamos Rd. in Santa Rosa, Calif., on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020. Customers throughout the region could face power shutoffs later this week as red flag fire warnings take effect.


Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has warned that about 54,000 customers in portions of 24 counties, including most Bay Area counties, will likely face preemptive electricity cuts intended to prevent wildfires caused by wind-damaged power lines.

Generators and other measures deployed by PG&E should keep the lights on for about 12,000 customers that would have otherwise lost power, according to Mark Quinlan, the company’s incident commander.

PG&E officials did not expect to make a final call about shutting off power lines until Wednesday morning. But if the forecast materializes as expected, electricity will go out mainly in two waves later that day, with a third possible on Thursday.

The shut-offs were expected to begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday for 33,000 homes and businesses, primarily in the North Bay and northern Sierra Nevada foothills. Two hours later, the outages would move further south into the Sierras as well as targeted spots in the East Bay, South Bay, Peninsula and Central Coast.

Limited areas of Humboldt and Trinity counties could lose power late Thursday afternoon as the second of two rounds of anticipated Diablo winds blow through, PG&E said.

Electric service should be restored for everyone no later than Friday at 10 p.m. But company officials said they would look for opportunities to turn some lines back

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CMSC appoints Aggreko as power supply contractor for Colluli plant

Dual-listed Danakali has announced that Colluli Mining Share Company (CMSC) has appointed Aggreko as its preferred power supply contractor for a 12 MW heavy fuel oil (HFO) power plant at the Colluli sulphate of potash project in Eritrea.

A 12.36 MW thermal HFO solution was chosen as the most effective option for Module 1.

Aggreko will provide the funding for the power solution, which Danakali says provides certainty over the delivery of this preferred solution.

Aggreko will also provide the full scope of support services for the supply, commissioning and maintenance of the power plant and then transfer it to CMSC.

The costs of the power solution provided by Aggreko over the five-year contract period is lower than those set out in the front-end engineering design study, Danakali points out. 

The agreement with Aggreko is subject to the conclusion of ongoing negotiations to optimise the scope of works, contract pricing and execution; and board approval of the final investment decision.

“We are very pleased to announce the appointment of Aggreko as our single power provider. With 55 years of experience in delivering high-quality, reliable service to a large number of projects we are confident they have the capabilities to provide our power needs for Colluli.

“At the early stages of the project development, the HFO solution will provide us with flexibility and reliability, and as confirmed by the Solar Energy Industries Association, Colluli will have a relatively small impact on the environment.

“Going forward, once project development is in more of a steady state, we will look to diversify our energy sources towards renewables available in the Danakil region, as per our commitment to sustainable and environment-friendly solutions,” says Danakali CEO Niels Wage.

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