In parts of Southern California, PG&E began turning off power on Wednesday due to incoming Red Flag conditions which included high winds and dry weather. Officials were concerned the conditions could spark fires and wanted to turn off power lines to hundreds of thousands of people to help prevent fires. In some parts of California, major blazes have been starting anyway (at least one fire was caused by a truck dumping burning vegetation.) Here’s a look at when power might be restored in some areas and the current state of the power outage.
Times, Maps & Updates for the Power Restoration Process
Power restoration has already started, PG&E shared on Twitter. More than half of the customers who lost power have seen their power restored. Full restoration has happened in Humboldt, Siskiyou, and Trinity counties.
As of 11 p.m. Pacific on Thursday, October 10, about 312,000 customers still need their power restored.
The good news is that almost all counties are clear for inspections. An “all clear” means that weather has subsided to allow safety inspections, repair of any damage, and restoration.
If your power hasn’t been restored yet on Thursday night, it likely won’t be restored until Friday during the day at the earliest.
This is because safety patrols can only take place during the daylight, so they will begin again at dawn on Friday. Customers will see their power restored once safety patrols and repairs are finished, PG&E said. There are at least 11 areas of weather-related damage that PG&E must repair in some areas.
The following counties have not yet received an all-clear as of Thursday night:
- Parts of Butte County
- Parts of Plumas County
- Parts of Yuba County
- Kern County (the third phase power shutoff here was only started Thursday morning, impacting 4,000 customers)
There are several maps that can help you determine power restoration in your area.
First, there’s the official map. To find the approximate time that power in your area will be restored, visit PG&E’s Outage Map here. When visiting the map, enter your address and you will see the approximate time your power will be restored, if that information is known. Otherwise the map will indicate the cause of the power outage and the current status, along with the last time the status was updated.
Second, a crowdsourced power restoration map is embedded below and the full version is here.
The map above relies on information from customers rather than PG&E. To add to the map above, visit this map, created by ABC 7. They are asking everyone whose power was lost to go to the map here and input their address when their power is turned back on.
The San Francisco Chronicle has also provided a Bay Area Outage map here. You can enter your address in this map for details also.
A fifth map is found on ArcGIS here and is embedded below. This map was shared on Reddit originally by u/CPhTonReddit, who said they found the map while looking at updates on Nixle. The map was created by Solano County, but also appears to have other areas included. It’s not clear how frequently this map is being updated, but it provides estimated restoration times for some areas.
The only issue with this map above is that sometimes it requires a login to view. So if the embedded map above is showing a login requirement, that’s actually an easy and free fix. You can sign up for a free 21-day account, which should cover you during the outage to keep viewing the map above. Go to this link to sign up for an ArcGIS online free trial. Once you submit your information, you’ll be asked to click a link sent to your email, and then you’ll be asked to create a username and password. After that, you can go back to the map above and sign in and view the map whenever you want during your 21-day free trial.
By using all the maps listed above, you should get a pretty good idea of when power is coming back on in your region.
Restoration Can Take Time Due to Inspecting Lines & Making Sure There’s No Damage
On Wednesday, PG&E held a press conference and explained why it might take some time for power to be restored once it’s turned off.
First, they explained that because of the “interconnected nature of the electrical grid,” some areas might have their power turned off even if the weather doesn’t seem so bad. A PG&E official said: “There are lines that might run through neighborhoods that also run through fire threat distracts… We need to de-energize lines that run through high-fire risk districts that also run through areas that aren’t (high-risk)… This is a decision we do not make lightly… It’s a last resort for us… At this point we believe it’s a necessary step to take for the safety of our communities.”
PG&E explained that the power cutoff was needed because of red flag warning, high winds, dry fuel on the ground, and the lack of significant rain for months.
But restoring the power might take some time in some areas.
“There’s a multi-stage restoration process that involves inspecting … every mile of the lines that have been de-energized,” the PG&E official said during a press conference. “The number of line miles (de-energized) is basically equal to the circumference of the equator. We have to look at each inch of the line to assure there’s no damage… Then we start a multi-stage restoration process.”
How to Stay Updated
One good source for updates is PG&E’s Twitter account here.
Another good source for updates is PG&E’s Currents news page.
Customers will not be billed for the time their power was shut off, PG&E said.
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