PG&E cut power to about 52,000 customers in the Bay Area and the northern Sierras last night due to dangerous weather conditions — high winds, dry land — that could lead to wildfire, were a charged power line were to come in contact with vegetation.
The utility instituted the Public Safety Power Shutoff program at about this time last year, in response to previous devastating wildfires sparked by downed lines. If you were around, you remember that Humboldt County was uniquely at the mercy of these PSPS’s — because the transmission lines into our county run through tinderbox hills, shutting those down meant the whole county went dark.
At the time, PG&E insisted that the mighty 150-megawatt Humboldt Bay Generating Station at King Salmon could not be used to keep the lights on here on the wet and relatively fire-safe coast, which wasn’t quite true. But they’ve since worked that out, and most of Humboldt can now suck down its own juice when dangerous conditions to our east force us off the grid.
But that’s not always true for all of Humboldt, and the current Public Safety Power Shutoff is scheduled to roll over much of the Alderpoint Road corridor between Bridgeville and Alderpoint this evening, along with the Ruth Lake Area. All told, about 700 customers in our hills will lose power. (Find out if your address will be affected at this link.)
During a press conference videocast last night, PG&E spokesfolks said that the power is scheduled to be own in those areas from 4 p.m. tonight to 10 p.m. Friday (though that, of course, could change). If you’re in the affected area and you need to charge your phone or medical device, or hop on some WiFi, PG&E will be operating a community resource station at the Bridgeville Community Center (38717 Kneeland Road) from 2 p.m. ‘til 10 p.m. today.