As PG&E crews worked to restore power on Monday to nearly 60,000 customers in San Mateo County who lost service Saturday, Oct. 26, in the third planned shutoff this month, the utility warned another blackout will begin Tuesday.
According to a San Mateo County Office of Emergency Services alert (SMC Alert) issued just after 8 p.m. Monday, PG&E will shut off power to customers south of Pacifica and west of Highway 280 to the ocean at 11 p.m. Tuesday. An SMC Alert issued earlier in the evening indicated the shutoff would likely start in the morning.
“The weather event causing this power shut-down is expected to arrive at midnight (Wednesday) and last until 7:00 a.m. on morning of October 30th,” the alert reads. “Once the weather event ends PG&E will begin the process of power line inspection and restoring electrical power.”
Parts of San Mateo County, including Woodside, are expected to lose power, according to a potential shutoff map on PG&E's website. Portola Valley is not expected to be impacted, according to an email from the town of Portola Valley Monday night.
PG&E has set up a website where customers can determinedly if their power may be turned off. That website is at psps.ss.pge.com/.
It is likely some PG&E customers in the Bay Area will not have their power restored from the weekend shutoff before the next one begins. Tuesday's shutoff coincides with a weather pattern expected to trigger another significant "wind event," said Andy Vesey, PG&E's president and CEO. The shutoff is expected to impact up to 605,000 customers in portions of 29 counties, including 13,209 in San Mateo County, PG&E said in a press release Monday.
The weekend shutoff began around 8 p.m. Saturday and impacted 57,218 customers in the county, including portions of Woodside and Portola Valley, as well as parts of cities stretching as far north as South San Francisco and south to Redwood City, according to PG&E. Some 970,000 customers -- more than 2.5 million people -- were affected by the shutoff as of Sunday evening, PG&E said.
As of 10 p.m. Monday, PG&E had restored power to more than 556,400 customers.
Woodside Councilman Brian Dombkowski and Mayor Pro Tem Ned Fluet said in separate emails that they lost power Saturday evening.
Dombkowski said that he and his family did everything they could to prepare in advance.
"We worked through our perishable foods, powered up the extra phone chargers and had the kids complete their homework while we still had working WiFi," Dombkowski said.
Dombkowski said that he thinks customers have been given "a false choice between fire safety and having power because of PG&E's 'infrastructure choices over the last couple of decades.'"
"For a state of our caliber, with its high tax rates and its cost of power, it's astonishing to realize the utility, its regulators and the state itself has created this false choice we now must work our way out of over many, many years," he said.
Fluet, another Western Hills resident, said his propane generator kicked in after his power went off.
"I am glad that PG&E is taking a proactive approach to fire prevention, but I think these shutoffs are a short-term solution to a large-scale problem, and the shutoffs cannot become the norm," he said.
Tuesday's shutoff will be the fourth planned blackout this month. The move is intended to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire ignitions from its energized power lines that could fall during inclement weather.
About 1,000 customers in San Mateo County, including portions of Woodside, lost power around 1 a.m. Thursday (Oct. 24) as part of PG&E's planned fire danger-related power shutoff, according to the utility.
The shutoff also affected PG&E customers in La Honda, San Gregorio and unincorporated San Mateo County.
Power was fully restored in San Mateo County just before 6 p.m. Thursday, according to an SMC Alert. Approximately 179,000 customers in 17 Northern California counties lost power.
The San Mateo County Office of Education reported that no public schools closed as a result of the shutoff Thursday.
PG&E also shut off power to 738,000 customers in 34 counties starting on Oct. 9, including nearly 15,000 customers in San Mateo County. Many streets in Portola Valley and Woodside lost power in that shutoff, and schools in the Portola Valley Elementary School District were closed Oct. 10 as a result. Customers in Portola Valley and Woodside who lost power generally had it restored within about 24 hours.
Assistant editor Julia Brown, reporter Angela Swartz and Bay City News Service contributed to this report.