Offshore wind prompts fire watch, possible PG&E shutoffs


Strong, dry winds across large areas of Northern and Central California may prompt PG&E to turn off power across 30 counties, including San Mateo County, on Wednesday and Thursday.

Customers in seven of the Bay Area's nine counties could be affected, including those in San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, Napa, Santa Cruz and Sonoma counties, according to PG&E.

Starting Wednesday morning and persisting through Thursday afternoon, the dry and windy weather is expected to hit the northern end of PG&E's service area, then spread into Central California and the Bay Area.

The National Weather Service has called a Fire Weather Watch Tuesday night through Thursday, including parts of the North and East Bay as well as the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Forecasters say it's likely to be the strongest offshore wind event of the 2019 fire season.

PG&E is asking customers to get ready by updating their contact information so they can be notified when electrical service powers down and gets restored, and to plan ahead for any medical needs that require refrigeration or devices that need electricity to run.

Anyone using a backup generator to get through the shutoff is advised to be aware that generators pose unusual hazards not typically associated with grid power. People should make sure to vent the generator's exhaust outside to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, and avoid running portable generators in the garage.


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4 people like this
Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Oct 7, 2019 at 2:09 pm

Also, please avoid starting any wildfires while fueling and operating your individual generator.

Not sure if each family having a generator due to frequent power shutdowns is going to be safer than a central utility maintaining their equipment (for example, by undergrounding the lines).

5 people like this
Posted by the underground
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 7, 2019 at 2:13 pm

Yes, time to underground them

8 people like this
Posted by Underground Now
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Oct 7, 2019 at 6:48 pm

Here in PV some people have started under grounding the utilities (at their expense). This should be done town wide using county funds, state funds, along with PG&E covering the cost. Paramount to fire safety and then we wouldn’t have to endure these shut offs which cause many problems

Like this comment
Posted by CyberVoter
a resident of Atherton: other
on Oct 8, 2019 at 1:24 pm

1) "Undergrounding" electric cables is a very partial solution:
a) The real fire risk is from High Voltage cables/transmission & not local lower voltage distribution cables
- Proper vegetation management by homeowners, City/County & PG&E is all that is required
b) The total cost of putting an existing distribution system underground is enormous & NOT a good use of limited Gov't/Tax funding that should be spent on healthcare, transportation and other local services

2) PG&E (Driven by their very overpaid lawyers & Top Management) is now shifting the burden of fire prevention to the homeowner:
a) Southern CA Edison has been operating "Public Safety Power Shutoffs" for many years, To my knowledge, they have not been as big an issue there - in that shutoffs do NOT last days (unless afire started or the winds continue @ extreme levels for days)
b) If there is a real chance that PGE will shut your power off for days, you will need a natural gas (or LPG) standby generator
- PGE should take action to recommend & subsidize the purchase & installation of such generators

All in all, it is time to "Clean House" @ PGE & the PUC

I just can't afford higher taxes & higher utility rates!

6 people like this
Posted by Blasey Ford
a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on Oct 8, 2019 at 8:30 pm

PG&E has got you by the bulbs!

World’s 5th largest economy. 3rd World power grid.

4 people like this
Posted by Blasey Ford
a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on Oct 9, 2019 at 7:50 am

Recall Newsome.

Recall Newsome.

Like this comment
Posted by the underground
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 9, 2019 at 9:05 am

> Recall Newsome. (sic)

The last recall signaled the end of the GOP in California. It gave us Arnold, who was the *last* republican to hold statewide office in California. An absolute blue, clean sweep of every office ever since.

Ya sure you want a repeat of that? I guess your answer will be: "why not?"

Can it get blue-er than all-blue?

2 people like this
Posted by Elaine
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 11, 2019 at 1:28 am

Thank goodness the Menlo Park City Council voted (unanimously) to ban natural gas lines from new multi-family developments. In the future, when PG&E turns off the electricity, it will be important to have NO OTHER SOURCE OF POWER!

2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 11, 2019 at 8:33 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 25, 2019 at 2:05 am
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
The fatal flaw in the proposed policy is PG&E's new policy of making unannounced and prolonged shutoffs of electrical power. Without gas a building will be without any source of energy for cooking or heating.

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