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The nation's largest utility warned customers on Monday it may have to cut power to portions of 21 counties in Northern California due to the region expected to see strong winds and high temperatures that may lead to wildfires.
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Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) said there's an increasing risk that a Diablo wind event may necessitate a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) starting on Wednesday, as "high fire-risk" conditions arrive.
"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," the utility said.
CALIFORNIA UTILITY MAY CUT POWER TO REDUCE WILDFIRE RISKS AS EQUIPMENT PROBED IN DEADLY BLAZE
Roughly 50,000 PG&E customers could see their power shut off as early as Wednesday afternoon.
The utility says the 21 counties, which include those in the northern Sierra foothills and the mid and higher elevations of the Sierra, include: Alameda, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Lake, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Solano, Sonoma, Tehama, and Yuba.
"High fire-risk conditions are expected to arrive Wednesday evening," the utility said. "High winds are currently expected to subside Thursday morning in some locations and Friday morning in other locations."
If the PSPS goes into effect, its goal is to restore power to most customers within 12 daylight hours, based on weather conditions.