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PG&E provides update on Public Safety Power Shutoff, East Bay deenergizing to occur through midnight

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

50,000 Customers Already Restored from First Phase of Safety Shutoffs

Second Phase of Shutoffs Has Begun for 234,000 Customers in Sierra Foothills and Bay Area

Improving Weather Means Safety Inspections in Some Areas of Humboldt Have Started

Potential Customer Impacts in Kern County Reduced from 43,000 to Approximately 4,000

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is sharing important updates related to the Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) that has been implemented across portions of its service area as a precautionary measure to reduce the risk of wildfire during a widespread, severe wind event impacting its service area.

“In the East Bay, South Bay and Santa Cruz counties, shutoffs have begun and we will continue deenergizing through midnight tonight,” Katy Hernandez of PG&E’s Marketing and Communications shared.

The latest updates include:

  • PG&E has now restored power to approximately 50,000 customers in the Sierra Foothills since the shutoff began.
  • Improving weather means patrols in some areas of Humboldt County have started. PG&E anticipates being able to restore power to 60,000 to 80,000 customers tonight or early Thursday morning. Patrols take place during daytime hours and will resume at daybreak.
  • The second phase of the PSPS event began this afternoon and will to continue into the evening. Approximately 234,000 customers will be impacted during this phase in the following counties: Alameda, Alpine, Contra Costa, Mariposa, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne. Outages are expected to happen in two waves, with the East Bay, South Bay and Santa Cruz counties being impacted later tonight.
  • The first phase of shutoffs impacted approximately 513,000 customers in the following counties: Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Solano, Sonoma, Tehama, Trinity, Yolo and Yuba counties. Some additional customers in Calaveras and Mendocino were included in the second phase.
  • A third phase is being considered for portions of Kern County. Due to changing weather forecasts, PG&E now expects this event to impact approximately 4,000 customers. Earlier forecasts predicted impacts to 43,000 customers.

Additional resources are poised to support the restoration process, including 45 helicopters and more than 6,300 on-the-ground field personnel. Inspections, repairs and restoration can begin once the weather event has passed and it is safe to do so. PG&E expects that the weather to subside around midday Thursday in the Sierra Foothills and the Bay Area/Santa Cruz. Weather conditions in the Kern/Bakersfield area are forecasted to improve into midday Friday.

The decision to turn off power was based on forecasts of dry, windy weather including potential fire risk.

“We understand that this power shutoff is difficult for our customers and communities. Please check on your neighbors, friends and family and know that we will work safely, and quickly as possible, to restore power across the region,” said Sumeet Singh, vice president, PG&E Community Wildfire Safety Program. “Our meteorological and operations teams are actively monitoring the weather and this evolving situation, and we are working directly with state and local agencies to help our customers and communities through this event safely.

Check PG&E’s new website for power shutoff area map.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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PG&E postpones power shutoff in East Bay, decision based on weather

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

By Allen Payton

According to Sumeet Singh, Vice President, PG&E Community Wildfire Safety Program, during a press conference, Wednesday evening, the planned power shutoff in the East Bay, including Contra Costa County, would be postponed based on changes in the weather pattern.

“As part of our second phase we are continuing to monitor weather in the East Bay, the South Bay and Santa Cruz areas,” he stated. “We will be making a decision about the timing of the deactivation later this evening…because there is a shift in the timing of the weather pattern. So, we may be able to delay the start of that deactivation.”

“It took take several days to restore power,” Singh also shared. (See the press conference on Twitter, here.)

Jeff Smith of PG&E confirmed at 9:10 PM Wednesday night, that the shutoff has been postponed, saying “the second phase of shutoffs has begun for customers in the Sierra Foothills and Bay Area. The East Bay, South Bay and Santa Cruz Counties are weather dependent. But they haven’t begun. We are continuing to monitor the weather and it will be completely dependent on the weather.”

Maps of the affected areas can be viewed on the following PG&E web pages: www.pge.com/eventmaps and www.pge.com/pspseventmaps.

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Supervisors prepare for PG&E power shutoff during Tuesday meeting

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors proclaimed October 6 through 12 as National 4-H Week throughout the county. Supervisors encouraged citizens to recognize 4-H for the “significant impact it has made and continues to make by empowering youth with the skills they need to lead for a lifetime.” 4-H has helped 3,159 youth in Contra Costa County to become leaders. The University of California Cooperative Extension delivers the program in California. National 4-H Week showcases the experiences that 4-H offers youth. Attending Tuesday’s resolution presentation were from left, West Contra Costa County 4H Director Jen Komaroni, Board Chair John Gioia of Richmond, District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover, eight year 4H member Delanie Sheridan, District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff, seven year 4H member Brodie Emmons of Brentwood, fifth year 4H member Emily Tavers of Brentwood, Briones 4H Director Paula McCauley, District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis, Brentwood 4H Director Julie Carter, University of California Cooperative Extension Director for Alameda and Contra Costa Bob Bennaton and Vice Chair Candace Andersen. Photo by Daniel Borsuk

Approve MOU for Route 239 in East County to connect Brentwood to Tracy; $2.1 Million for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

By Daniel Borsuk

Potentially facing the first-ever utility-induced electric power shutdown in parts of Contra Costa County, members of the Board of Supervisors discharged a barrage of questions on Tuesday about the preparedness of the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District in handling potential emergencies during what could be a power shutdown lasting several days.

At the end, Supervisors learned CCCFPD is ready to handle whatever might come down from a PG&E power shutdown.

Supervisors relayed their concerns about the CCCFPD’s fire emergency readiness at Tuesday’s fire district meeting where supervisors also serve as the fire district’s fiscal and policymaking entity.

PG&E revealed plans on Tuesday it would intentionally shut down power serving Rossmoor and parts of the Lafayette-Moraga-Orinda areas on Wednesday, due to high winds and concerns the winds could knock down power lines sparking a fire. The power shutoff could last through Friday or longer depending on weather conditions.

CCCFPD Chief Lewis Broschard III forecast one-third of Rossmoor or 4,000 to 5,000 residents could be potentially harmed by a power outage. Many elderly residents living in senior housing don’t have backup electric generators, he said.

“We’re looking at longer response times due to traffic tie ups,” the chief said. This will require having equipment and personnel strategically located ahead of potential emergencies.

Broschard acknowledged that the fire district has encountered a roadblock in obtaining state pre-position funding.

When Chief Broschard informed supervisors that the district’s newly built Fire Station 16 in Lafayette will be officially opened on Wednesday, Board Vice Chair Candace Andersen, whose District 2 covers most of the areas PG&E has identified will have power shut off observed “We might not have power tomorrow to dedicate the station.”

Chief Broschard said the district recently accepted delivery of its newest bulldozer, the district’s second bulldozer that will provide district extra firefighting power in what has been “a quiet fire season” up to this point in time.

In other business, supervisors unanimously approved their 2020 schedule consisting of 30 meetings. Vice Chair Candace Andersen of Danville has already been elected chair for next year and District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood has been elected vice chair for 2020.

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors designated the second week of October as Code Enforcement Officer Appreciation Week in Contra Costa County on Tuesday. Supervisors recognized the work and dedication of code enforcement officers, of which there are five in the county. “You’re our unsung heroes<” said Supervisor Karen Mitchoff who acknowledged “We’ve recently have had some problems in the Pleasant Hill Barea area.” Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg remarked “The work you do is unappreciated. That’s mostly because the cases are complaint driven.” The supervisors’ resolution states “Contra Costa County wants to recognize and honor our Code Enforcement Officers that serve our community and acknowledge their role in leading the way to improve quality of life within our communities.” Photo by Daniel Borsuk

Supervisors also approved as consent items:

MOU for Route 239 in East County

An amended and restated Memorandum of Understanding between the county and the Contra Costa Transportation Authority concerning the development and federal funding for State Route 239 Project in the Byron area. There were no public speakers concerning the $17.6 million project, $14 million in federal funding and $3.6 million in Local Road Fund.

$2.1 Million for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

Supervisors approved a $2,099,274 contract for the California Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program for the period of Oct. 1, 2019 through June 30, 2021. The grant is funded with federal money through the California Department of Community Services and Development.

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PG&E offers latest details on Public Safety Power Shutoff, parts of Antioch still included

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

Contra Costa County postponed until 8:00 p.m., tonight

By Tamar Sarkissian, PG&E Spokesperson

513,000 customers were part of the first phase of this PSPS; those customers are currently deenergized. They’re in the following counties: Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Solano, Sonoma, Tehama, Trinity, Yolo and Yuba counties.

About 21,000 customers in Calaveras and 800 in Mendocino were not part of the first phase and will be deenergized during the second phase coming later today.

Shutoffs for the second phase of counties, initially scheduled to start around noon on Wednesday, have been delayed by a few hours, given changes to the weather forecast. Those counties are: Alameda, Alpine, Calaveras, Contra Costa, Mariposa, Mendocino, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Stanislaus and Toulomne.

We understand the impact turning off the power for safety has on customers, we don’t take this action lightly. We thank our customers for their patience during this significant wind event.

EAST BAY AREAS EXPECTED TO BE IMPACTED

County Customers Cities
Alameda 32,680

Medical Base: 872

Oakland, Castro Valley, Fremont, Union City, Berkeley, Albany, Hayward, San Leandro, Sunol, Pleasanton, Livermore
Contra Costa 51,310

Medical Base:1,594

Antioch, San Ramon, Orinda, Lafayette, Moraga, Pinole, Richmond, Kensington, Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill,

El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Canyon, San Pablo,

Pittsburg, Rodeo, Concord, Martinez,

 

COMMUNITY WILDFIRE SAFETY PROGRAM

PSPS is part of a larger effort. Given the continued and growing threat of extreme weather and wildfires, and as an additional precautionary measure following the 2017 and 2018 wildfires, we are expanding and enhancing our Community Wildfire Safety Program to further reduce wildfire risks and help keep our customers and the communities we serve safe.

Our ongoing and expanded efforts include further enhancing vegetation management around power lines, conducting accelerated safety inspections of electric infrastructure in high fire-threat areas, and hardening our electric system.

In response to the rapidly changing environmental conditions in our state, beginning with the 2019 wildfire season, we are also expanding our Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) program to include all electric lines that pass through high fire-threat areas – both distribution and transmission. Factors that PG&E considers when deciding to initiate a Public Safety Power Shutoff included strong winds, very low humidity levels, critically dry vegetation and on-the-ground observations by our crews.

COMMUNITY RESOURCE CENTERS

To support customers in the affected areas, PG&E will open Community Resource Centers in several locations beginning at 8 a.m. today. The centers will remain open during daylight hours only. Restrooms, bottled water, electronic-device charging and air-conditioned seating for up to 100 will be available at these facilities.

The East Bay centers will be opened at the following locations:

 

County City Location
Contra Costa San Ramon Bishop Ranch Parking Lot – 2600 Camino Ramon, San Ramon 94583
Alameda Oakland Merritt College LOT B – Leona St., Oakland 94508

CUSTOMER TIPS

We know how much our customers rely on electric service and that there are safety risks on both sides. We understand and appreciate that turning off the power affects first responders and the operation of critical facilities, communications systems and much more. Below are some helpful safety tips you can share. You can also direct customers to: www.safetyactioncenter.pge.com

PG&E Power Outage Safety Tips

  • Use a cell phone or hard-wired phone. Cordless phones do not work without electricity.
  • Use battery-operated flashlights, not candles, which pose a fire hazard.
  • Unplug or turn off all electric and heat-producing appliances (e.g. air conditioners, washers and dryers, ovens, stoves, irons) to avoid overloading circuits. Overloaded circuits can be a fire hazard once power is restored.
  • Unplug televisions and computers that were in use when the power went out.
  • Leave a single lamp on to alert you when power returns.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed, and place extra containers of ice inside to preserve food. A full freezer will remain colder longer.
  • Notify your alarm company if you have an alarm system. Equipment can be affected by outages.
  • Turn your appliances back on one at a time when conditions return to normal.
  • Reset clocks, thermostats and other programmed equipment after power is restored.

Preparing for a Power Outage

  • Keep important numbers (e.g. hospital, fire department, police, friends, relatives) near the phone.
  • Keep battery-operated flashlights and radios and extra batteries on hand.
  • Gather non-perishable food that doesn’t require cooking, as well as a manual can opener.
  • Freeze water-filled plastic jugs to make blocks of ice. Place them in the fridge and freezer to help prevent food from spoiling.
  • If you have a generator, make sure a licensed electrician properly installs it. Improperly installed generators pose a significant danger to our crews.

 

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Only a few Antioch customers on PG&E list of areas affected in Contra Costa County during Power Shutoff

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

By Susan Shiu, Director, Office of Communications & Media, Contra Costa County

Contra Costa County is preparing to respond to the impacts of a confirmed PG&E power shutoff event that will affect parts of the County. PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) is expected to start around 12 noon on Wednesday, October 9th, through Thursday, October 10th, at 12:00 pm. According to PG&E, complete power restoration may take one to five days.

PG&E estimates that 51,000 customers in Contra Costa County could lose power. We expect the shutoff to impact over 120,000 residents of the County. The PG&E power shutoff event will affect large areas of the County, including Bay Point, Canyon, El Sobrante, Kensington, Lafayette, Moraga, North Concord, Orinda, Pleasant Hill, Pinole, Pittsburg, Richmond, San Ramon and Walnut Creek. PG&E notice: Rossmoor and Danville will NOT be impacted by the PSPS. PG&E expects to start restoring power on Thursday, October 10th with complete restoration possibly taking several days.

Shiu confirmed to the Herald that the list of cities and communities is not exhaustive and that a few customers in Antioch will be affected. She is checking with PG&E to get the details.

Contra Costa County is working to ensure that the public is aware of this PG&E power shutoff event.  The County’s Emergency Operation Center is now at a Level 2 partial activation.  Contra Costa County will be in business on Wednesday and Thursday. The Bay Point Health Center will be closed during the power shutoff.  Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) is contacting patients to reschedule appointments. Patients can also call the CCHS appointment line at 1 (800) 495-8885. Contra Costa Regional Medical and all other county health centers are not expected to be impacted by the outage. CCHS will continue to provide services during the outage.

PG&E Community Resource Center

2600 Camino Ramon, San Ramon

County Charging Stations (for mobile phones):

The County Employment & Human Services Department is setting up charging stations for community members during the PG&E power shutoff. These charging stations are available in the lobbies of the following locations starting Wednesday, October 9th, from 8 am to 5 pm:

4545 Delta Fair Blvd., Antioch

151 Linus Pauling, Hercules

400 Ellinwood Way, Pleasant Hill

1305 Macdonald, Richmond

There are no scheduled public school closures in Contra Costa County for Wednesday, October 9.  For updates on school closures, go to www.cocoschools.org.

Go to Contra Costa County’s website at www.contracosta.ca.gov for updates, a PG&E map of impacted areas, and ways to prepare before, during and after a power outage. Check www.pge.com to register for wildfire alerts and for customer updates.

Please check back for any updates. Allen Payton contributed to this report.

 

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Sheriff, County issue list of what to do before, during and after power shutoff in English y Español

Tuesday, October 8th, 2019

Power Shutoff Preparedness-SO-5138

Power Shutoff Preparedness-SO-5138 (Español)

 

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Antioch on list of cities to be affected by PG&E Power Shutoff, what to do to prepare

Tuesday, October 8th, 2019

According to an email message from Tamar Sarkissian, media representative, for PG&E’s East Bay Public Affairs Team received at 5:55 p.m., Tuesday evening, there will be 40,219 customers affected by the Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) in the following communities in Contra Costa and Alameda Counties: Antioch, Pittsburg, San Ramon, Orinda, Lafayette, Moraga, Pinole, Richmond, Kensington, Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Canyon, San Pablo, Rodeo, Concord, Martinez, and Berkeley and Albany.

It won’t affect everyone in Antioch as there are approximately 118,000 residents in the city.

The PSPS will begin at Midnight tonight (Tuesday/Wednesday) and last until noon on Thursday. However, it could take up to five days for power to be restored.

Sarkissian also provided the following press release:

PG&E Will Proactively Turn Off Power for Safety to Nearly 800,000 Customers Across Northern and Central California

Portions of 34 Counties Will be Impacted by Widespread, Severe Wind Event Beginning Wednesday; New Counties Added Since Monday: Marin, Humboldt, Trinity and Kern

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – As a precautionary measure to reduce wildfire risk during the forecasted severe wind event, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) confirmed that it will implement a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) in portions of 34 northern, central and coastal counties, affecting electric service for nearly 800,000 customers.

PG&E expects to begin turning off power in some areas early Wednesday, just after midnight. The power will be turned off to communities in stages, depending on local timing of the severe wind conditions, beginning with counties in the northern part of the state.

“The safety of our customers and the communities we serve is our most important responsibility, which is why PG&E has decided to turn power off to customers during this widespread, severe wind event. We understand the effects this event will have on our customers and appreciate the public’s patience as we do what is necessary to keep our communities safe and reduce the risk of wildfire,” said Michael Lewis, PG&E’s senior vice president of Electric Operations.

Customer notifications and impact

The company has been notifying potentially impacted customers and will continue to do so, via automated calls, texts and emails. However, customers not impacted by the PSPS may experience power outages due to PG&E equipment damaged during this major wind event; those customers will not be notified in advance.

It is very possible that customers may be affected by a power shutoff even though they are not experiencing extreme weather conditions in their specific location. This is because the electric system relies on power lines working together to provide electricity across cities, counties and regions.

Portions of Kern, Humboldt, Trinity and Marin counties have been added to the potential scope of this PSPS, in addition to the 30 counties identified Monday. Customers can find the full list of impacted counties, cities and communities at www.pge.com/pspsupdates.

Estimated time of restoration 2

 

Overall, based on the latest weather forecasts and models, PG&E anticipates that this weather event will last through midday Thursday, with peak winds forecasted from Wednesday morning through Thursday morning and reaching 40 to 55 mph, with isolated gusts up to 60 to 70 mph.

Before restoring power, PG&E must inspect its equipment for damage and make any necessary repairs. That process cannot begin until the severe weather event has subsided.

Given the prolonged period during which the wind event will unfold, and the large number of power line miles that will need to be inspected before restoration, customers are being asked to prepare for an extended outage.

PG&E will work with state and local agencies to provide updated restoration timelines following the conclusion of the severe weather event.

Community Resource Centers

To support customers in the affected areas, PG&E will open Community Resource Centers in several locations beginning on Wednesday, October 9, at 8 a.m. The centers will remain open during daylight hours only. Restrooms, bottled water, electronic-device charging and air-conditioned seating for up to 100 will be available at these facilities.

Centers will be opened at the locations below:

Contra Costa San Ramon Bishop Ranch Parking Lot – 2600 Camino Ramon, San Ramon 94583

How customers can prepare

As part of PSPS preparedness efforts, PG&E is asking customers to:

  • Update their contact information at pge.com/mywildfirealerts or by calling 1-866-743- 6589 during normal business hours. PG&E will use this information to alert customers through automated calls, texts, and emails, when possible, prior to, and during, a PSPS.
  • Plan for medical needs like medications that require refrigeration or devices that need power.
  • Identify backup charging methods for phones and keep hard copies of emergency numbers.
  • Build or restock your emergency kit with flashlights, fresh batteries, first aid supplies and cash.
  • Keep in mind elderly family members, younger children and pets. Information and tips including a safety plan checklist are available at pge.com/psps.
  • Continue to monitor PG&E’s new weather forecasting web page at pge.com/weather which is a dedicated page with weather forecasting information and a daily 7-day PSPS lookahead.

Generator safety

  • Backup electric generators can be a part of any preparedness plan, but they can also pose unique safety hazards.
  • It’s important to understand how to safely operate your generator before an emergency occurs. This means doing regular safety checks and being sure you have enough fuel to last a few days. If you don’t understand how to use your generator, you risk damaging your property, endangering your life and endangering the lives of others.
  • Position your generator where its exhaust can vent safely to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, which can be fatal. Never run a portable generator in the garage or in the rain, and never store generator fuel in the house.
  • Additional tips on the safe use of generators can be found at PG&E’s Safety Action Center at www.safetyactioncenter.pge.com.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

 

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Antioch Police K9 helps foil commercial burglary Saturday morning

Sunday, October 6th, 2019

Antioch Police K9 Purcy and APD cars on the scene of the burglary, Sat., Oct. 5, 2019. Photos by APD.

By Antioch Police Department

Yesterday morning, Saturday, Oct. 5, the APD dispatch center received a call about a commercial burglary in progress. Officers quickly responded to the scene and were able to surround the business. Officers made numerous announcements for the suspects to surrender, but they failed to do so.

K9 Purcy was on scene and assisted Officers with a building search. K9 Purcy was able to locate two suspects hiding in a crawl space and was able to assist in apprehending one of the suspects. Both suspects were ultimately arrested and booked into county jail for burglary.

This is a prime example where our K9 teams are invaluable in locating criminals during incidents such as these. We think Purcy deserves a puppuccino.

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