The Latest: Utility eliminates California areas from outages

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Latest on power outages in California (all times local):

1 p.m.

Pacific Gas & Electric has significantly lowered the number of places in California that could be affected by power outages as the utility turns the electricity off to prevent its equipment from starting wildfires.

Utility officials originally said that about 375,000 people in Northern and central California would be affected by the outages starting Wednesday and lasting through Thursday.

But rain and high humidity happened in areas that had been targeted for the outages. As a result, PG&E spokeswoman Ari Vanrenen says about 67,000 customers or about 170,000 people now face power cuts.

She says another 35,000 people have been advised they could lose power later Wednesday if the weather doesn’t improve in their communities.

The power cuts are the latest in a series of mass, planned outages prompted by extreme fire risk weather conditions over the past two months.

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7:40 a.m.

Pacific Gas & Electric has begun shutting off power to people in the San Francisco Bay Area and portions of California’s northern coast amid warm and windy weather that can help fan wildfires. The utility is trying to prevent its power lines from sparking fires.

PG&E spokeswoman Katie Allen says some people in the wine country counties of Napa and Sonoma lost electricity at about 7 a.m. Power has also been cut in parts of Mendocino and Yolo counties.

No details were immediately provided as to how many people lost electricity, but the shut-offs are expected to affect 375,000 people and last into Thursday.

Officials in some counties say schools, libraries and other public buildings will be closed Wednesday because of the outages.

It’s the latest in a series of mass, planned outages prompted by extreme fire risk weather conditions over the past two months.

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12:00 a.m.

Pacific Gas & Electric is once again shutting off power to large areas of central and Northern California because of fire danger.

PG&E planned blackouts Wednesday in parts of 18 counties ranging from north of Sacramento to the northern San Francisco Bay Area, wine country and the Sierra Nevada foothills.

The shut-offs could affect about 375,000 people and could last into Thursday.

It’s the latest in a series of mass outages prompted by weather conditions in the past two months. Brush is bone-dry from a lack of fall rains. PG&E is worried that gusts might fling debris into its power lines, sparking catastrophic wildfires.

The previous outages included one that affected 2.5 million people last month, inconveniencing and outraging customers. But PG&E says it’s a matter of public safety.

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