SDG&E Starts First Round of Emergency Power Shutoffs Amid Red Flag Warning

San Diego Gas & Electric cut power to nearly 1,000 customers Wednesday night, marking the agency’s first round of Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) after a red-flag warning kicked in at 9 p.m.

As of 11 p.m., the following communities were impacted:

Boulevard: 979
Descanso: 19

SDG&E first warned on Monday it could shut power off to more than 43,000 people to prevent against wildfires amid fire weather forecasted on Thanksgiving. Wednesday night, the agency bumped that number up to 53,000+.

The orange circles on the map below note communities that could face holiday weekend power outages. The red circles show where power has been shut off.


A map showing emergency power shutoffs in San Diego County as of 11 p.m. on Nov. 24.

Red flag warnings are issued when heat, low humidity and high winds are forecasted and fire risk is high.

The current warning expires at 6 p.m. Friday, but customers could be without power through Saturday morning “depending on SDG&E‘s need and ability to physically inspect equipment during daylight hours prior to re-energizing.”

Those who may be affected can expect notification via phone, text message or email, SDG&E said. A list will also be available here. Customers can also be alerted to outages with the PSPS app.

SDG&E has an emergency center to monitor fire weather conditions around the clock using 220 weather stations with real-time data on wind, temperatures and humidity conditions, SDG&E said.

The state of California gives utility companies the ability to temporarily turn off power to specific areas to reduce the risk of wilfires caused by electric infrastructure.

According to the state, electric infrastructure has been responsible for less than 10% of reported wildfires but those attributed to power lines consist of about half of California’s most destructive fires.

“Weather conditions change, and we have our team of professionals watching closely.  However, we wanted to let our customers know as early as possible that they could be impacted so they can make alternate holiday arrangements if needed,” SDG&E chief safety officer Kevin Geraghty said in a written statement.

“Once conditions come back to normal, they will have people walk the lines … physically looking and using drones to make sure nothing has blown into a power line before they turn it back on,” said SDG&E spokesperson Denice Menard.

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