PG&E power restored for nearly 150 North Bay customers following planned shutoffs
All power was restored Monday evening after Pacific Gas and Electric Co. preemptively shut off power for up to 150 customers in the region in an effort to prevent its electric equipment from sparking more wildfires as gusty winds blasted the North Bay’s highest peaks earlier in the day.
Those customers were in Napa and Solano counties, the only portions of the San Francisco Bay Area affected by the shutdown, according to PG&E spokeswoman Deanna Contreras. Their power went off around 6 a.m. Monday and Contreras said PG&E would restore service “when the severe weather passes and we finish patrolling all the lines.”
By 6 p.m., all power was restored in Napa and Solano counties. Power also was restored to 56 customers in Lake County.
The utility initially warned it could cut power for thousands of homes and business in the Bay Area on Monday as the National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for dangerous wildfire conditions due to offshore winds and dry conditions. But PG&E scaled back the shutoff when weather monitors reported that “the weather has not been as severe as forecast” in many areas, including Sonoma County, Contreras said.
Nevertheless, about 250 North Bay customers, mostly in Sonoma County, were without power on Monday morning for other reasons, PG&E said. In the majority of cases, PG&E was doing maintenance work on its equipment, according to Contreras.
Outages that were not caused by the planned shutoff were reported near Monte Rio, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol and Sonoma. PG&E did not have an estimate on when service would be restored in those areas.
Wind speeds in the Bay Area were expected to steadily decrease throughout the day on Monday, said David King, a National Weather Service meteorologist.
“The strongest winds are behind us,” he said Monday morning.
Among the fastest speeds recorded overnight in the region was a 66 mph gust on Mount Saint Helena around 1 a.m.
Mount Diablo in the East Bay also saw gusts above 60 mph overnight, “but for the most part, the strongest gusts were in the 30 to 40 mph range” throughout the Bay Area, King said.
In Sonoma County, overnight gusts reached 40 mph on many of the highest peaks. The Healdsburg hills saw speeds up to 45 mph, according to the weather service.
Light offshore winds are expected to continue into Tuesday, according to King.
The red flag warning is in effect through 8 p.m. Humidity was dropping throughout Monday and the dry vegetation, combined with the winds, was elevating the risk of wildfires growing out of control, King said.
In Lake County, a red flag warning was in effect until 2 a.m. on Tuesday. Low humidity and gusty winds were expected throughout the night, the weather service said.
You can reach Staff Writer Matt Pera at email@example.com. On Twitter @Matt__Pera.