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Another extreme wind event could trigger more power outages Tuesday

Attorneys painted starkly different pictures of PG&E and their oversight over natural gas infrastructure during closing arguments of a federal criminal trial on charges of violating a pipeline safety law.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company is forecasting another wind event that could mean a second major electrical shutoff this week, lasting Tuesday night through Thursday morning.

The announcement comes with a large portion of Northern California already trying to ride out an electrical power shutoff that started Saturday night and is expected to last into Monday.

The new event could extend to portions of 32 counties in the PG&E service area, covering the Northern and Southern Sierra, North Bay, Bay Area and Santa Cruz mountains, North Coast and Kern County.

The utility said in a news release:

“For those customers able to have their power restored between events, PG&E urges them to use the opportunity to charge any medical equipment, phones and other electronic devices and restock emergency kits.”

“Some customers may continue to be impacted by the PSPS event, while others may experience power outages due to weather damage to the electric system.”

Counties that fall under the new PSPS area include, Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Glenn, Humboldt, Kern, Lake, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolumne, Yolo and Yuba.

The utility said:

“The dry, windy weather pattern is expected to reach from the northern portions of PG&E’s service territory and down through the Sacramento Valley, before spreading into the central areas of the state, including the Bay Area.”

PG&E said it will make every effort to restore power to as many customers who lost service during the current shutoff, but warned:

“[S]ome customers who are currently out of power may remain out throughout the duration of the next potential PSPS event.”

It advised customers that do have power restored between events to:

“[U]se the opportunity to charge any medical equipment, phones and other electronic devices and restock emergency kits.”

The utility will again provide Community Resource Centers in outage areas.

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