UPDATE: PG&E confirms that it will move forward with its Public Safety Power Shutoff starting tonight just after midnight.
PG&E says it will temporarily shut off power to high-risk fire areas in northern, central and coastal counties, including those within Contra Costa County, as early as midnight Wednesday and possibly through Thursday afternoon due to potential fire risks heightened by weather conditions.
The power shutoff could impact over 40,000 customers in Contra Costa County areas considered vulnerable to fires, such as parts of Richmond, Pinole, El Cerrito, El Sobrante and San Pablo. A map of areas affected can be found here.
In Richmond, per PG&E, the outage will impact May Valley, El Sobrante Hills, Carriage Hills North, Carriage Hills South, Countryside, Greenbriar, Greenridge Heights.
The WCCUSD said it will close schools where the power is shut off, which could include Pinole Valley High School, Korematsu Middle School, Kensington, Olinda, Collins and Ellerhorst elementary schools, and Cameron School. Once the district learns which schools will need to close, families will be contacted via robocalls.
The National Weather Service has issued a fire weather watch driven by a potentially widespread, strong and dry wind event Wednesday morning through Thursday afternoon. Parts of nearly 30 counties in Northern and Central California that are serviced by PG&E could be impacted.
PG&E is implementing temporary power shut offs in the wake of devastating wildfires such as the Camp Fire in November, which was determined to have been sparked by PG&E power lines and spread with help from warm, dry and windy conditions.
Contra Costa County officials are disseminating recommendations for impacted residents. See its guides below, or visit the County’s Safety & Emergency Information page here.
“Tips include planning for your family and pet’s needs, treating intersections as four way stops if traffic lights are out, conserving water and storing non-perishable food,” according to county officials.
• PG&E says that power outage will not affect gas service. There is no need to shut off the gas.
• Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) facilities, including Contra Costa Regional Medical and county health centers will not be impacted by the outage. CCHS will continue to provide services during the outage.
• BART spokesperson says trains will be operating during the power shutoff in our County.
• School – check with your school or school district regarding possible closures.
By Kathy Chouteau
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