UC Berkeley cancels classes for 2nd day because of power outage

PG&E will shut off power to parts of county due to heightened fire risk

Los Altos Hills to lose power Wednesday

The Berkeley Seismological Lab's data center, which collects data from geophysical stations throughout Northern California, was created to be prepared for power outages due to earthquakes, says operations manager Peggy Hellweg in an email to The Scientist.

One of the areas where the power was shut off was the suburban town of Moraga, where about 100 homes were ordered evacuated as a wildfire spread in the hills early Thursday.

PG&E defended its decision to proactively cut power to its customers.

PG&E said the severe weather incident prompting its precautionary shutoffs - hot, dry conditions and winds gusting at up to 110 kph - was expected to last through mid-day Thursday in northern and central California. "This is because the electric system relies on power lines working together to provide electricity across cities, counties and regions", reads the press release. Other areas, including Ventura county and parts of Kern, Tulare, Inyo and Mono counties could lose power as well.

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This planned power shutoff is the biggest coordinated blackout in California to reduce the risk of wildfires in the state, according to Bloomberg, which notes that as many as 2 million people in total could be affected by the power shutoff, based on the average size of a household in the U.S.

Nearly all home solar systems are tied into the local power company's power grid, so the customer can feed solar back into the system and get paid for the electricity their solar panels produce.

PG&E has activated an emergency operation center that is staffed at all hours, Singh said. Utilities in the Los Angeles and San Diego area are also warning of service cuts. "That is ensuring we have sufficient backup power generation, establishing microgrids where we can do so, things of that nature". The campus will be open Wednesday, but services will be limited, the university said.

When the power might be turned back on is undetermined, and depends on when the winds die down. Utility crews won't be able to inspect any power lines that might be damaged and restore electricity until after the severe weather has passed.

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In May, state fire investigators determined that PG&E transmission lines caused the deadliest and most destructive wildfire on record in California, last year's wind-driven Camp Fire that killed 85 people in and around the town of Paradise.

Precautionary blackouts around the state may reach into Kern County in the coming days for the first time since a statewide program was implemented a year ago to reduce wildfires.

"Due to changing weather forecasts, PG&E now expects this event to impact approximately 4,000 customers".

Farther south, where Santa Ana winds weren't expected until early Thursday, Southern California Edison said it might cut power to more than 170,000 customers. PG&E is the sole provider of gas and electricity for much of Northern California, and so the vast majority of consumers in the region do not have an alternative source of power.

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· Update their contact information at pge.com/mywildfirealerts or by calling 1-866-743- 6589 during normal business hours. A customer threw eggs at a PG&E office in Oroville, Calif.

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