5 WCCUSD schools to close Thursday due to planned power shutoff


Five schools in the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) were set to be closed Thursday due to PG&E’s planned power outages.

The schools include Pinole Valley High, and Ellerhorst, Kensington, Madera and Olinda elementary schools. The closure also affects the afterschool programs and extracurricular activities at the five schools.

“We will inform the community no later than 4 p.m. on Thursday about the status for Friday for those five schools,” the district announced, adding that “all other district schools will remain open.”

About 50,000 Contra Costa County PG&E customers were expected to be impacted by PG&E’s planned Public Safety Power Shutoff, which is occurring in phases and was projected to impact in total about 30 counties and 800,000 customers.

The shutoffs are planned due to a weather forecast of high winds and dry conditions starting today through Thursday that are creating high fire risk conditions. PG&E is directing customers to its map sites to learn about outages in their area. For some customers, power may not return for up to five days.

The Public Safety Power Shutoff is occurring in three phases. The first phase began at midnight Wednesday and was set to impact 513,000 customers in the counties of Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Solano, Sonoma, Tehama, Trinity, Yolo and Yuba.

The second phase was set to take place originally at noon Wednesday, but was pushed to Thursday night, impacting service to approximately 234,000 customers in the counties of Alameda, Alpine, Contra Costa, Mariposa, San Joaquin, San Mateo and Santa Clara.

Contra Costa County planned power outage map.

A third phase is being considered for the southernmost portions of PG&E’s service area, impacting approximately 42,000 customers. Specific locations are still to be determined.

The power shutoff could impact over 50,000 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 safety of our customers and the communities we serve is our most important responsibility, which is why PG&E has decided to turn power off to customers during this widespread, severe wind event. We understand the effects this event will have on our customers and appreciate the public’s patience as we do what is necessary to keep our communities safe and reduce the risk of wildfire,” said Michael Lewis, PG&E’s senior vice president of Electric Operations.

How our customers can prepare

As part of these preparedness efforts, PG&E is asking customers to:

  • Update their contact information at com/mywildfirealerts or by calling 1-866-743- 6589 during normal business hours. PG&E will use this information to alert customers through automated calls, texts, and emails, when possible, prior to, and during, a PSPS.
  • Plan for medical needs like medications that require refrigeration or devices that need power.
  • Identify backup charging methods for phones and keep hard copies of emergency contacts
  • Build or restock your emergency kit with flashlights, fresh batteries, first aid supplies and cash.
  • Keep in mind elderly family members, younger children and pets. Information and tips including a safety plan checklist are available at www.pge.com/psps.
  • Continue to monitor PG&E’s new weather forecasting web page at www.pge.com/weather which is a dedicated page with weather forecasting information and a daily 7-day PSPS lookahead.