November 17, 2019 / 10:00 PM / 25 days ago

Thousands could be impacted by PG&E's upcoming potential power cuts

(Reuters) - About 180,000 customers in California could find themselves in the dark as Pacific Gas & Electric warned that an upcoming “strong offshore wind event” could prompt the bankrupt power producer to yet again shut off power in some areas.

“The forecast remains uncertain, but there is a possibility that the weather could prompt a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) for some customers in the Sierra Foothills, North Valley and North Bay”, the company said on Sunday, adding that it was monitoring for adverse weather on Wednesday.

“At present, projections reflect a possible weather event similar to previous PSPS events that impacted about 180,000 customers.”

The company said the potential cuts were intended to avoid its equipment sparking wildfires in hot weather.

The upcoming possible outages are only the latest in a string of recent events for which PG&E has been widely criticized.

Recent shut-offs have hit hundreds of thousands of homes and workplaces in northern California and have been condemned by customers as well as authorities for being too widespread, with insufficient communication to their customers.

The utility filed for bankruptcy in January, citing potential civil liabilities in excess of $30 billion from major wildfires linked to its transmission wires and other equipment.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; editing by Diane Craft

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