The Latest: California utility begins new phase of blackouts

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on planned power outages to prevent California wildfires (all times local):

7:15 a.m.

The Pacific Gas & Electric Co. utility has begun a new phase of shutting off power in parts of its Northern California service area to try to prevent its equipment from sparking wildfires during periods of strong winds and extremely dangerous fire conditions.

Utility spokeswoman Ari Vanrenen said Tuesday that the utility began the process of shutting off power early Tuesday to about 46,000 customers in Butte, Tehama, Plumas, Trinity and Shasta counties.

There are about 2.5 people for every customer, meaning about 115,000 people are affected.

Vanrenen says power could be cut later Tuesday to 596,000 customers in 29 counties. That would affect 1.5 million people.


11 p.m.

Millions of Californians prepared to be in the dark — some 5 days, or longer — as the nation’s largest utility said it was switching off power again Tuesday to prevent powerful winds from damaging its equipment and sparking more fires.

Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. said its latest blackout will start early Tuesday and affect about 1.5 million people —in 29 Northern California counties.

Across the region, it was clear that patience was wearing thin and frustration at the utility was growing.

Southern California Edison had cut off power to about 800 people as of Monday night and warned that it was considering disconnecting about 400,000 more as winds return midweek.

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