UPDATE — PG&E will cut power to 372 local customers

PG&E may cut power to customers shown in the orange area. Map courtesy of PG&E.

UPDATE, Wednesday, 1 p.m., Oct. 23, 2019 — PG&E announced today that it will be shutting off power to 372 customers in San Mateo County at 1 a.m. tomorrow morning (Oct. 24) in an attempt to prevent falling power lines from starting forest fires.

Originally, PG&E said it would need to cut power to 907 customers along Skyline Boulevard. Now that number has been reduced to 372.

PG&E is also planning to cut power in 16 other counties affecting 179,000 customers.

ORIGINAL STORY, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 7 a.m., Oct. 23, 2019 —PG&E may be shutting off power to 907 customers in San Mateo County tomorrow (Thursday, Oct. 24) in anticipation of high winds and fire danger.

Customers along Skyline Boulevard between Skylonda and Phleger Estate may lose power Thursday around 1 a.m., according to PG&E.

The National Weather Service has forecasted 35 mph winds coming off of the Santa Cruz Mountains into San Mateo County. Because of the high winds and low humidity, PG&E decided it would preemptively shut off power some two weeks after the utility’s first error-ridden shut off.

During the outages two weeks ago, PG&E was criticized for not communicating well enough with customers and local agencies, and for its website continually crashing.

PG&E officials said yesterday that they plan on making the final call as whether to shut off the power to some 189,000 customers state-wide this morning.

Two weeks ago, PG&E anticipated high winds ripping through parts of San Mateo and Santa Clara counties west of Interstate 280. However, winds stayed below 10 mph on Oct. 9 and 10, which is when the blackout was scheduled to hit the area, according to the National Weather Service. PG&E eventually pulled the plug at around 11 p.m. on Oct. 9 and power was restored by Oct. 11.

People in Portola Valley, Woodside and the Palo Alto foothills lost their power.

No damage was found along power lines in San Mateo County, and a tree branch fell onto power lines connected to a house in Santa Clara County, according to PG&E.

PG&E told San Mateo County officials yesterday that because of the relatively low number of outages predicted for the county — 907 customers — that power should come back on quickly, according to county spokeswoman Michelle Durand.

If the power is cut Thursday at 1 a.m., PG&E anticipates being able to start turning the power back on by noon that day, according to Durand.
PG&E plans to test a California Highway Patrol airplane equipped with infrared technology to inspect power lines. If useful, such aircraft could speed the process of getting the power back on by allowing line inspection to continue after dark.

Bay City News contributed to this report.