CENTRAL COAST, Calif. — Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) announced they may need to temporarily cut power to eastern portions of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties Monday night due to hot, dry weather.
We may be in the middle of January, but that hasn't stopped the sun from bringing temperatures up to 70s and even 80s in some areas. PG&E said this hot, dry weather, combined with high wind gusts, pose an increased risk for damage to electrical systems which could ignite a fire in the dry brush.
The PG&E Emergency Operations Center and in-house meteorologists are actively monitoring the situation and said it may need to enact a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) Monday night to protect certain areas from fire. The counties affected by this warning include portions of Calaveras, Fresno, Kern, Madera, Mariposa, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare and Tuolumne.
In addition to the potential for a PSPS event, PG&E said strong and gusty winds may cause flying debris and vegetation which could impact power lines and cause additional outages.
Weather forecasts show high fire-risk conditions arriving Monday evening in the southern portion of PG&E’s service area, with high winds expected to subside by Wednesday morning.
In the event a PSPS is deemed necessary, PG&E plans to inspect any and all power lines to ensure they were not damaged during the shutoff before turning them back on.
PG&E will then aim to restore power as safely and quickly as possible once they are given the all-clear.
PG&E said they have notified affected residents by phone of these potential shutoffs. Employees will also be knocking on the door of customers enrolled in the company’s Medical Baseline program who rely on electricity for critical life-sustaining equipment.
For updates on the status of the PSPS event, visit the PG&E website here.
PG&E said the sole purpose of a PSPS is to reduce the risk of major wildfires during severe weather.
To prepare for a PSPS, the company suggests residents:
- 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 numbers.
- Build or restock your emergency kit with flashlights, fresh batteries, first aid supplies and cash.
- Keep in mind family members who are elderly, younger children and pets.