PG&E may cut power to parts of nine NorCal counties starting Thursday

People walk past the PG&E office in downtown Chico.

Thousands of Pacific Gas and Electric customers in nine Northern California counties could lose power as early as Thursday morning, due to high fire danger.

PG&E began notifying customers about the possible power shut off via text message and email.

According to Paul Moreno, Marketing and Communication Principal for PG&E North Valley, extreme fire danger conditions are expected this week, along with a red flag warning from the National Weather Service. It's because of those conditions that PG&E is considering a large power cut to parts of Butte County, Lake County, Napa County, Nevada County, Placer County, Plumas County, Sierra County, Sonoma County, and Yuba County.

Moreno further explained the factors that could lead PG&E to cut power.

"We're watching for very gusty winds, very high sustained winds, low humidity, dry fuel conditions, and other observations on the ground to determine whether or not a temporary shut-off will be necessary," Moreno said.

The company was clear on when they may be shutting the power off, but less clear on when it would come back on. Moreno said it depends on a host of factors, most of them weather related, and they don't have an estimate for when the power would be restored.

Moreno also stressed the importance of a consumer action plan for if the power goes out. That consumer action plan includes updating contact information, avoiding downed power lines, and keeping a flashlight with extra batteries on hand.

To those living in the potentially affected areas, the power cut is an inconvenience, but an understandable one. Some Paradise residents like Brent Walton are fine with PG&E cutting power, if it means preventing a wildfire.

"I understand the whole concept of it, but it is a little bit of an inconvenience so, if that were to happen or go into effect, we would probably go down to Chico to a friend's house," Walton said.

Not everyone in Walton's neighborhood has a power outage plan. Moreno said PG&E will only cut power as a last resort.

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