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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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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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Don’t Let Home Improvements Leave You Underinsured

By Ben Moore



a tree in front of a house: Don't Let Home Improvements Leave You Underinsured


© TheStreet
Don’t Let Home Improvements Leave You Underinsured

As many Americans face months on end stuck at home, some are using their time (and money) to create a change of scenery or upgrade their surroundings. Office equipment purchases are on the rise, and people are tackling more renovation projects than usual.

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But expensive new stuff and significant home improvements can leave you underinsured. If you’re considering making changes to your home — or if you already have — it’s smart to revisit your homeowners or renters policy. Here’s how to ensure it covers the new additions.

Tell Your Insurer About Your Plans

There’s a good chance you’re underinsured before you even make changes, according to Don Griffin, vice president of personal lines at American Property Casualty Insurance Association. Talk to your insurer before making any expensive purchases or changes to your home to inform the company of your plans and clarify your policy’s current coverages and limits. If your home costs more to replace after you’ve improved it, some insurers will pay the new expense to rebuild, but “that’s not every policy, and it may not cover everything you need,” Griffin says. He also recommends once a year reviewing what your home insurance policy covers.

>> Plus, from Robert Powell’s Retirement Daily on TheStreet: The Four Ingredients to Living Well in the New Retirement

In some cases, you may need to change carriers to get the coverage you need. Frank Jones, an independent agent and partner at Mints Insurance Agency in Millville, New Jersey, has seen clients switch insurers because an addition wasn’t covered. “It’s in your best interest to have these conversations now rather than to have a claim denied,” he says.

A new desk and computer for remote learning, plus that monitor

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In ‘Leave The World Behind,’ 2 Families Face The Unknown Together

Rumaan Alam’s latest novel, Leave the World Behind, centers on a white family and an older Black couple who find themselves together in a beautiful vacation house on Long Island while a power outage — and possibly something much worse — grips much of the East Coast.

The novel, which is up for the National Book Award, explores class and race relations — and how we respond to crisis and fear. The juxtaposition between the luxury inside the home and the growing sense of uneasiness outside the house seems to speak to life during the pandemic, but Alam says the connection was purely accidental.

“I could not have foreseen the particular cultural moment into which I’m publishing this book,” he says.

Alam, who lives in Brooklyn, felt a particular tension between safety and confinement during the early days of New York City’s COVID-19 shutdown: “I felt really trapped earlier this year when it was March and it was kind of cold outside and the playgrounds weren’t open and there really was nowhere for me and my kids to go. And it’s hard to hold those two things in your head — that you can have the great fortune of having a place to be and still feel a little trapped there.”

That tension runs throughout Leave the World Behind: “There’s a discomfort in that metaphor of the home — the luxurious home that promises to be this family’s getaway — that eventually becomes this family’s trap,” Alam says.


Interview highlights

On the novel’s opening chapters, in which the white family who is renting the house opens the door in the middle of the night to an older Black couple who claim to be the home’s owners

The reader is meant to feel a bit of discomfort there because,

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