UPDATED 9:00 a.m.
During a Pacific Gas and Electric press conference Tuesday, October 22, the power company maintained their meteorological data still supports a major wind event, possibly pushing the company to move forward with a Public Safety Power Shutoff around 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, October 23. PG&E Chief Meteorologist Scott Strenfel stated the wind event appears to be the second largest of the season and an additional wind event beginning Thursday could result in a PSPS for Southern California.
Strenfel went on to state PG&E would continue to monitor the weather through Wednesday morning when it will make a final determination on the PSPS. PG&E CEO and President Bill Johnson stated there could be another weather event over the upcoming weekend that could impact the affected areas during the current possible PSPS. He explained that PG&E’s goal is to restore power as quickly as possible and anticipates there being enough time between the wind events to restore power. However, they will continue to monitor the events and will act according to public safety.
Johnson also responded to a letter sent by the governor’s office, asserting that the power giant is only considering PSPSs based on safety needs due to weather events. The PG&E temporary site became overloaded Tuesday morning for approximately 45 minutes. The company re-established pge.com, their primary site, for PSPS information. He also stated the company is working with counties to determine where Customer Resource Centers will be placed if they move forward with the PSPS.
Amador County’s CRC will be at Mace Meadows, 26570 Fairway Drive in Pioneer and Saint Kathrine Drexel Catholic Parish, 11360 Prospect Drive in Jackson, if the power is shutoff. Calaveras County will have CRCs at Meadowmont Shopping Center, 2182 Highway 4 in Arnold; Black Bart Players, 580 South Algiers Street in Murphys; and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3322, 202 Spink Road in West Point.
PG&E has updated its information on affected customers, reducing the total affected in Amador County from 13,186 to 10,420 and 14,852 to 14,235 in Calaveras County. The power giant was able to contract with California Office of Emergency Services and California Highway Patrol for a fixed-wing aircraft to patrol their transmission line at night.
Preliminary test flights were scheduled for Tuesday night ahead of the potential PSPSs to determine what the onboard technology will actually be able to see at night. PG&E expects the initial event to be over by Thursday, October 24 around noon and to begin inspections immediately after. Officials stressed that they inspect individual circuits and restore power once each section is completed. Additionally, officials took heat over conflicting information posted to their website and continued headaches with the reliability of their site.
If PG&E moves forward with the PSPS, customers across 17 counties are expected to be impacted, totaling 184,000 people. Counties impacted according to the most recent information released by the power giant are Amador, Calaveras, Alpine, Butte, El Dorado, Kern, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, San Mateo, Sierra, Sonoma, Tehama and Yuba.