Pacific Gas & Electric warned they may have to cut power to almost 100,000 homes in Northern California with strong winds and warm temperatures creating a risk of new wildfires.
Company officials made the announcement on Friday, saying that ‘hot and dry conditions, combined with expected high wind gusts, pose an increased risk for damage to the electric system that has the potential to ignite fires in areas with dry vegetation.’
PG&E say power may be shut off to up to 97,000 customers in 16 counties between Sunday morning and Monday, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Counties which could be affected include Napa, northeast of San Francisco.
When heavy winds were predicted earlier this month, PG&E cut power to about 167,000 homes and businesses in central and Northern California in a more targeted approach after being criticized last year for acting too broadly when it blacked out 2 million customers to prevent fires.
PG&E equipment has sparked past large wildfires, including the 2018 fire that destroyed much of the Sierra foothills town of Paradise and killed 85 people.
This year, Northern California has been battling through the worst wildfire season on record.
The North Complex Fire has torched more than 304,000 acres and is 78 percent contained. At least 15 people have died after being caught up in the inferno.
The August Complex Fire has burned through a whopping 867,000 acres and is only 38 percent contained. One firefighter was killed while working to train and contain that blaze.
Wildfires aren’t the only reason why California residents have been experiencing deliberate power outages in recent months.
Back in August, PG&E was among a number of electric companies who conducted rolling blackouts amid fears that a heatwave would overwhelm the electric grid.
The Independent System Operator declared a Stager 3 Emergency, prompting PG&E to cut power to 250,000 homes.
Residents were unable to be notified due to the emergency announcement, leaving thousands of vulnerable people suddenly without air-conditioning in the midst of a severe heatwave.
Grid managers last implemented such a power cut in 2001, when the state was suffering from an electric crisis.