Power Outages Hit Northern California as Utility Tries to Avoid Wildfires

By Jesse Sokolow on 9 October 2019
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Sonoma, California

Buena Vista Winery Sonoma, California

Much of Northern California found itself suddenly without electrical power as the Pacific Gas and Electric Company cut power to large swaths of the state affecting over 700,000 customers as it attempts to avoid deadly wildfires such as those that killed dozens of people and destroyed thousands of homes two years ago.

The power cuts run from the Sonoma and Napa wine country to the Bay Area and Silicon Valley.   Millions of residents as well as thousands of visitors to the region are feeling the impact.

In October 2017, fast-moving wildfires in Northern California fanned by gusty winds ravaged the region’s wine country, leaving significant damage in their wake.

Chaos ensued as schools and businesses closed, traffic signals ceased operating, and shoppers ran to stores for provisions, flashlights, and fuel. Congregations preparing for Yom Kippur services in the region faced holding services on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar by candlelight or, in some cases, use backup generators.

The power outages were planned due to the forecast of severe winds that could knock down power lines and spark wildfires.  By midday, the winds hadn’t materialized.

Officials warned that it could take up to five days to fully restore power.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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