Pacific Gas and Electric Company initiated the first of two planned safety power shutoffs shortly after 5 p.m. Monday, turning off the lights of 4,833 customers in the Yuba County foothills (as of 8 p.m. Monday) due to forecast high winds, PG&E spokesperson Paul Moreno said.
Yuba County was one of three counties – the others being Nevada and Butte County – affected by the first of two PG&E planned shutoff periods.
Moreno said PG&E will continue to monitor the forecast and make a final decision on the second potential shutoff by late morning today. If a shutoff proceeds in the foothills it is anticipated to take place during the late afternoon or evening hours today.
Even if red flag National Weather Service conditions improve, it could take a couple days or more to inspect lines and get the grid turned back on. Anyone caught up in the planned shutoff period who needs extra assistance can go to Alcouffe Center in Oregon House to charge or plug in any phones or medical equipment.
The center will be open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. during the week and upon request after hours.
Yuba County Public Information Officer Russ Brown said anyone needing assistance after business hours can call 749-7700.
Someone will be available all hours to direct concerned citizens in the event they need to charge any equipment, Brown said.
Brown said residents in the foothills should prepare for a multiple-day shutoff, so food needs to be stored properly and against ice, backup chargers and battery packs should be readily available and if necessary residents should make arrangements to stay with friends and family.
Roads may also be darker with less traffic signals, so Brown said to treat every intersection like it’s a four-way stop.
In a news alert early Monday afternoon, PG&E confirmed it would implement a public safety power shutoff affecting about 27,500 customers in total. The company, after being found at fault for devastating fires the last two years that drove it into bankruptcy, has declared it will use shutdowns of portions of the grid when conditions are ripe for wildfire.
The company had originally forecast it could shut power off to as many as 124,000, including some customers in Sutter County. According to the news release Monday afternoon, Sutter County was not expected to be impacted.
According to a press release from PG&E, communities that could have been impacted in Yuba County include Bangor, Browns Valley, Brownsville, Camptonville, Challenge, Dobbins, Forbestown, Loma Rica, Marysville, Oregon House, Rackerby and Smartsville.
NWS predicts high wind and low humidity/high temperature conditions to last through Wednesday. High temperatures are expected to run 96-98 degrees the next few days.
Other available resource centers
Other neighboring resource centers include Auburn Gold Country Fairgrounds, Sierra College Grass Valley Campus, Taylor’s Restaurant in Loomis and Oroville High School.
For more information or to sign up for emergency alerts visit https://www.yuba.org/departments/emergency_services/BePreparedYuba.php or https://www.suttercounty.org/doc/government/depts/cao/em/cs_es_home.
To check if you’re in the shut off area, you can also go to www.pge.com/pspsupdates and check if your specific address is affected.