California utility cuts power to 2,000 residents to reduce wildfire risk

By Nancy Vu

PG&E has cut power to approximately 2,000 homes across California to reduce the risk of wildfires as the state struggles through scorching temperatures and rising energy demand. 

In an updated notice issued early Tuesday, the utility announced residents spread across eight counties and one tribal community had their power shut off to lower the possibility of wildfires stemming from energized power lines. The scope of the shut-offs was smaller than initially predicted, which estimated around 12,400 customers would be affected in 10 counties. 

The energy utility issued a previous notice Monday afternoon, warning residents that it has activated emergency operations to enact a possible power shut-off. The shut-off was anticipated to begin early Tuesday morning and last through Wednesday. PG&E said it has delayed its power shut-off for approximately 10,000 customers due to favorable weather conditions. 

The shutdown comes as the state faces an already active wildfire season — and as power demands surge amid high temperatures. 

In 2019, a series of preemptive power shut-offs occurred in 30 counties across California in a similar attempt to prevent wildfires. However, nearly 3 million residents were affected, drawing widespread backlash and criticism, with customers complaining of either being misinformed or left in the dark on when the shutdowns would occur. PG&E’s equipment has also been blamed for previous wildfires in 2017 and 2018, including one that destroyed the town of Paradise and killed more than 80 people.  

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