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PG and E Is Expanding Its Wildfire Shutoff Program

It may not seem like it lately, but the wildfire season is just ahead. Last year, PG and E’s power shutoff program applied mostly to customers living in “extreme” threat areas, including in Nevada County. But this year, utility spokeswoman Brandi Merlo says they’re including all of their five-point-four million customers. And she indicates that they’ll be more assertive this season, with the potential for several shutoffs per customer…

click to listen to Brandi Merlo

Last year, PG and E issued one blackout warning to Nevada County customers, but did not take any action. They also had considered shutting off power for the Camp Fire area but never did. Merlo wouldn’t comment directly on whether the expansion is due to the increased number of major wildfires linked to power line and equipment issues, nor on the company’s growing liability exposure…

click to listen to Brandi Merlo

PG and E is also urging customers to make sure they keep them informed about current landline and mobile phone numbers, as well as e-mail addresses. Blackouts normally happen on Red Flag Warning days proclaimed by the National Weather Service. That’s when winds are sustained at 25 miles an hour and gusting up to 45 miles an hour or higher, with humidity below twenty percent.

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