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Update on PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoffs in Northern California

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The media has been all over the map on this. Yesterday my estimate was that 100,000 customers would be effected by these. The estimates I've heard from the media late yesterday and this morning have ranged from over 200,000 to 700,000. I'm guessing either the lower number or perhaps closer to my original guess.

PG&E has already started these north of Sacramento as the strong low pressure cell slides in from the north.

What's probably confusing the media is that PG&E is implementing the PSPS on a feeder-by-feeder, or maybe a feeder-segment-by-feeder-segment basis. For instance the poulation of Livermore is about 90,000, but I doubt if more than 20,000 will be outaged around the edge of Livermore in the hills (brushlands).


John Benson's picture

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Oct 9, 2019 9:38 pm GMT

This is a really important level of clarification. It underscores the importance for utilities to have better communications operations who can mobilize to get the right information to the media and to the customers, as well as the need for media organizations to be careful and deliberate with what they say-- working closely with the utility and unaffiliated experts in the industry (people such as yourself) who can ensure they aren't creating more panic than is necessary. 

John Benson's picture
John Benson on Oct 11, 2019 4:12 pm GMT

One news outlet said used the number 730,000 this morning, but it was unclear whether that was for the Bay Area or all of PG&E's Northern California service area or what. Also is that accounts or people? Your guess is as good as mine. I'll wat for the smoke to clear and look for a PG&E press release.

I drove up to house in Arnold yesterday and the power was out. I got there at noon and, based on the state of the ice in the fridge's freezer I would guess it had been out for about 12 hours. I talked to an acquaintance up there and she said they did not expect the power to be back on until Monday. I'm now back in Livermore.

They have already started restoring power for some larger communities in the Bay Area (San Jose, for instance). No outage for my house in Livermore, but I expect there are/ were some around the edge of the city. I expect the Bay Area will have the highest priority for restoration.

I called PG&E a couple of times. Although I got right in to a real person, their information (for Arnold) was confused. I'm not surprised, this is a huge event for them.

One significant wildfire in the Bay Area near Moraga (Between Berkeley and Concord). This city is completely in the hills and bushland, and I expect they had a PCPS. The local fire departments jumped on this fire and put it out pretty quickly with no homes destroyed or people hurt. As the low pressure cell in Nevada slid south it started a huge fire in Southern California near the LA and Ventura County line, with several homes destroyed.


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