PG&E planned shutoffs begin in parts of North Bay, parts of San Mateo County to lose power overnight

ByAmy Hollyfield, Laura Anthony, David Louie, and Lauren Martinez, Liz Kreutz, Kris Reyes KGO logo
Thursday, October 24, 2019
PG&E to make decision on power shutoffs in North Bay, San Mateo County
PG&E will decide today whether or not to shut off power to more than 34,000 customers in the Bay Area.

SAN FRANCISCO -- PG&E has already started the planned power outages in some parts of the Bay Area - For some it came sooner than the utility prepared them for.

Some customers in the North Bay, who were told the Planned Safety Power Shutoff would begin at 3 pm, lost power 15-20 minutes before that.

PG&E tells ABC7 News Reporter Liz Kreutz this is because the shutoffs are happening gradually.

Oakmont Village Market, a store for teh Oakmont Senior Living Center, was among those who lost power earlier than expected.

In total, the shutoff is expected to impact about 34,000 customers in the Bay Area.

LIST: List of counties, cities affected by PG&E power outage in Bay Area, rest of California

The shutoffs began around 2 p.m. in the Sierra Foothills and at 3 p.m. in the North Bay counties.

More shutoffs are planned for around 1 a.m. Thursday in areas of San Mateo and Kern counties.

RELATED: How to prepare for PG&E power shutdowns

PG&E is monitoring the weather.

PG&E says once the high winds subside, crews will inspect the de-energized lines to make sure they are not damage, and then restore power.

The peak period of winds should end at about noon Thursday.

RELATED: A look back at PG&E's history of blackouts

The company's CEO says they are doing this to prevent wildfires and save lives and that these outages could be the reality for the next 10 years.

Governor Gavin Newsom says that won't work -- he has been very critical of these power outages.

"Ten years of this cannot happen. Will not happen. We are going to aggressively make sure of that and we are still waiting for that rebate that is owed to millions of people in this state," Gov. Newsom said.

San Mateo County will be the last Bay Area county to lose power in this event. That would happen at 1 a.m. Thursday.

This might not be the end of it. PG&E is now saying there could be another shutoff this weekend as more wind is expected. They are watching the situation and more announcements will come, but the first big one is at noon Wednesday.


Residents in the small community of La Honda in San Mateo County are busy checking on neighbors as they await the power shutdown around 1 a.m. tonight.

Residents in the small community of La Honda in San Mateo County are busy checking on neighbors as they await for the power shutdown around 1 a.m. Wednesday night.

Retired engineer Gerard Powell lent a spare generator to a neighbor, who is recovering from a recent stay in the hospital.

"All we have is each other," he told ABC7 News, "and that spirit shines through."

Other seniors are concerned about their health and safety.

Linda Langwell uses a bi-PAP respirator at night for sleep apnea, and she is uncertain what will happen if she loses power. Her neighbor at a senior housing complex said during the last blackout, she suffered three days of pain after having to climb three flights of stairs when the elevator lost power.

She said she is not steady on her feet following back surgery. She is worried about falling in the dark and sustaining a serious injury.


In Sonoma County, roughly 27,000 customers are without power - roughly half of the number of customers from the first power shutoff.

Roughly 27,000 customers are without power in Sonoma County - roughly half of the number of customers from the first power shutoff.

Many of the outages are in Santa Rosa.

People who live in the Oakmont retirement community lost power two weeks ago-and again Wednesday.

"It is round two," Jim Palka, who lives in the senior community said. "Obviously we're not looking forward to peanut butter sandwiches again tonight."

PG&E SHUTOFFS: Same weather, different response

David Arcado runs the Oakmont Village Market. Between the last power shutoffs and the one today, he has spent thousands of dollars on dry ice to keep his business running.

"The reason it's worth it is this is a retirement community," Arcado said. "And they really rely on us. We have to try to take care of them and we do as best we can."

The city of Santa Rosa is working around the clock in their emergency operations center to help keep the city safe and functioning.

"There's a lot of work that's being done to not only coordinate outreach to our vulnerable population, our care homes, but also make sure our fire stations, our water stations, our sewer lift stations are all going to be functioning through the duration of this outage," Paul Lowenthal with Santa Rosa Fire said.

Some schools in Santa Rosa also ended classes early to prevent congestion on the road.

"Lots of parents, they take time off of work which then affects the employers as well, and that adds to the frustration." Ed Navarro, the principal at Rincon Valley Middle School continued, "But it's kind of the new normal now. We're learning to figure out how to deal with it."

It's a tale of two cities in Calistoga as the small tourist town prepares for yet another PG&E power outage.

It's a tale of two cities in Calistoga as the small tourist town prepares for yet another PG&E power outage. Half of the downtown district will be powered with PG&E generators set up at a substation on Lake County Highway, while the other part of town, the west side, will lose power. That means that some restaurants like Pacifico on Lincoln Avenue will have to close just before the dinner hour.

Manager Arturo Alvaro told ABC7 News that they had to cancel a reservation for nearly 30 people Wednesday night and another one for 40 people on Friday night due to the uncertainty of when the power might be turned back on.

At the Calistoga Inn just across the street, the owner told us that he will be able to stay in business during the power outage because he has rented two large generators. Local electrician Javier Gutierrez says he has been busy running from place to place, playing beat the clock to get generators installed in time. PG&E has announced they will begin cutting off power to about 7,400 customer accounts at 3 p.m., a process that could take a couple of hours.

Sally Giaimo and her husband Joe are visiting Calistoga on vacation from New Jersey. They are staying at a hotel in Windsor that has generators, but they worry about what will become of their expensive cross country vacation.

"This is outrageous that a company would shut off the power because they failed to do maintenance," said Joe Giaimo.

Many houses and restaurants were left in the dark after a PG&E planned power outage in Calistoga.

"There's pockets where there is power, there's no rhyme or reason how they shut off the power," said Calistoga resident Frank Bleuss.

Bleuss lives less than 10 minutes from Calistoga's main street but he's not one of the lucky ones being powered by these PG&E generators just down the road on Lake County Hwy.

"To shut the power off is not the solution, two weeks ago they shut off the power on the anniversary of the fire that was just a big slap in the face to everyone who lost their home."

Certainly is for the Pacifico Restaurant who had to cancel dozens of reservations and closed down before the dinner hour. While another restaurant - just one block away got to stay open.

Heraldo Caldera, a business owner, said, "We're really lucky that we have customers and the light is working."

Calistoga Inn also bustling with business-- the owner told us they've rented two large generators. But some of their diners have to go home down dark streets to a house without power.

For the latest stories about PG&E's Public Safety Power Shutoff go here.