Power cut off to hundreds of thousands in California amid wildfire threat

Power cut off to hundreds of thousands in California amid wildfire threat

Power has been cut to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses in California as Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is attempting to prevent wildfires from starting.

Nearly 800,000 northern and central California homes and businesses in total will be out of electricity for several days starting Wednesday, according to Reuters.

“We’re telling customers to be prepared for an outage that could last several days,” PG&E spokeswoman Tamar Sarkissian told Reuters.

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PG&E said the move is preemptive as several parts of Northern California are under extreme fire weather danger.

Parts of California are experiencing dry conditions and high winds are expected this week, with gusts up to 70 miles per hour. The conditions are when wildfires typically start, as they were the same in previous years when fires broke out.

In response to the power outages, PG&E has pledged to open community centers in 30 locations across the planned outage zone. The centers will have restrooms, bottled water, battery charging and air-conditioned rooms during daytime hours.

Reuters notes the planned power outages are the largest the utility has undertaken to date.

The company’s decision to cut off power to hundreds of thousands comes on the heels of state investigators finding that faulty PG&E transmission lines caused last year’s Camp Fire that claimed 85 lives, the deadliest fire in California’s history.

The utility has agreed to pay billions of dollars in damages and has declared bankruptcy.