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Update: PG&E Planned Power Outages Looking Increasingly Likely

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Update at 6:20 p.m.: Tuolumne County emergency officials update that PG&E has updated the number of customers affected by this new PSPS has been updated to the full amount of the last event, which is around 34,000 customers.

Update at 3:30 p.m.: PG&E has released the latest number of customers and communities within the 36 counties impacted by this weekend’s possible power shutoff.

Mother Lode areas impacted:

  • Tuolumne County: 29,454 customers in Big Oak Flat, Chinese Camp, Columbia, Groveland, Jamestown, Long Barn, Mi Wuk Village, Pinecrest, Sonora, Soulsbyville, Strawberry, Twain Harte
  • Calaveras County: 30,396 customers in Angels Camp, Arnold, Avery, Burson, Camp Connell, Campo Seco, Copperopolis, Dorrington, Douglas Flat, Glencoe, Hathaway Pines, Mokelumne Hill, Mountain Ranch, Murphys, Rail Road Flat, San Andreas, Sheep Ranch, Tamarack, Vallecito, Valley Springs, Wallace, West Point, White Pines, Wilseyville
  • Amador County: 19,909 customers in Amador City, Drytown, Fiddletown, Ione, Jackson, Martell, Pine Grove, Pioneer, Plymouth, River Pines, Sutter Creek, Volcano
  • Mariposa County: 809 customers in Coulterville and Greeley Hill

The company updates that predictive data models indicate the weather event could be the most powerful in California in decades, with widespread dry Northeast winds between 45-60 miles per hour (mph) and peak gusts of 60-70 mph in the higher elevations. As reported below, if the power is cut off the utility plans to roll out the PSPS in stages by breaking the counties into six different time periods. Local officials state that right now, Tuolumne and Calaveras county are in period 4, which would schedule the electricity to go off around 7 p.m. on Saturday. The utility’s goal is to re-energize most customers within 48 hours.

“We understand that a longer shutoff would be very difficult for our customers. We are already working to minimize the length, including amassing a force of field personnel from PG&E, plus contractors and other utility companies, to be ready to tackle the inspection, repair and restoration process as soon as the weather passes,” said PG&E Corporation CEO and President Bill Johnson.

Update at 2:30 p.m.: An update regarding PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutoff targeting the Mother Lode. Tuolumne County officials relay that the forecast models are still showing a significant wind event that will impact either part or all the 36 identified counties totaling 850,000 customers.

If the power is cut off the utility plans to roll out the PSPS in stages by breaking the counties into six different time periods. Local officials state that right now, Tuolumne and Calaveras county are in period 4, which would schedule the electricity to go off around 7 p.m. on Saturday. They stress that this is not a decision to de-energize but just a forecast which could change with the weather especially as it draws closer. Regarding restoration, PG&E hopes to have most power restored within 48 hours of the “all clear” being given.

There is a slight change in the opening of area Community Resource Centers (CRC’s) in Tuolumne County. If the shutdown happens late on Saturday, the centers will not open until Sunday morning, beginning at 8 a.m. and running until 8 p.m. Local officials note that PG&E is working to open 2-3 centers in the county, but the sites have not yet been confirmed

The utility anticipates sending out notifications again to all customers this afternoon/evening notifying the public of the upcoming event as a 24-hour advanced warning, according to county officials.

New Director BJ Hansen contributed the articles below.

Update at 11:55am: Local emergency officials were briefed this morning by PG&E, and the utility is still anticipating it will de-energize lines across Tuolumne and Calaveras counties this coming weekend.

Calaveras County Office of Emergency Services Coordinator John Osbourn reports that threatening weather is anticipated to arrive in the region around 6pm on Saturday and continue through Monday at 2pm. PG&E will likely de-energize the lines 3-5 hours ahead of the weather event. Local residents should prepare to be without power for several days. The map details in red where the planned outages are anticipated to occur.

Plans are being developed to open Community Resource Centers so that residents can stop by to receive water and recharge electronic devices. We’ll pass along more information as it becomes available.

Original story posted at 7:49am: Murphys, CA — PG&E reports this morning that 100-percent of the customers that lost electricity beginning on Wednesday in Calaveras County have now been restored.

Statewide, there were 178,000 customers included in the planned power shutoff, and around 13,000 still need to be restored.

We reported yesterday that another wind event is anticipated to arrive in the region late Saturday or early Sunday and PG&E is considering shutting off power to around 640,000 customers, including all of Tuolumne and Calaveras counties. Customers in the region started receiving notifications late yesterday.

If power is de-energized, PG&E will again open Community Resource Centers. The CRCs will have expanded services, including wifi, non-perishable snacks, water and coffee, additional charging capabilities for medical devices, customer giveaways such as batteries for flashlights and portable cell phone charges.

More information is expected to be released by PG&E later today.

  • Current wind speed for Mother Lode areas at 3 p.m.