Pacific Gas & Electric said it has restored power to roughly one-third of the customers affected by precautionary blackouts over the weekend, even as the embattled utility giant’s equipment was implicated in two wildfires that occurred despite the precautionary measures.
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The company said it had restored power to more than 325,000 of the 970,000 customer accounts impacted by the blackouts as of 4:30 p.m. PT. The shutdowns impacted roughly 2.5 million people as PG&E took preventative measures amid warnings by forecasters about historically high winds in Northern and Central California.
PG&E said it is in the process of inspecting power lines that were shut down and making repairs to damaged equipment as necessary. Preliminary reports noted “more than 20” instances of damage, according to the company.
The utility firm said a further 100,000 customers who were not affected by the blackouts lost power due to wind damage. PG&E is set to implement further safety blackouts for as many as 605,000 customer accounts starting Tuesday, with company officials noting it was “possible” that some customers could be affected by both shutdown events.
Earlier Monday, PG&E acknowledged that its power lines may have started two fires in the San Francisco Bay area. The affected areas were not subject to safety blackouts and were not considered to be in a high-risk area for wildfires.
In this photo taken Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019, are power lines in Lafayette, Calif., that show damage near where a fire started. Pacific Gas & Electric Co. power lines may have started two wildfires over the weekend in the San Francisco Bay Area, the
In addition, the company informed public officials that it had failed to notify 23,000 customers affected by blackouts earlier this month, including 500 with medical conditions.
PG&E has faced intense scrutiny from public officials in recent months for the role faulty power equipment has played in sparking a series of destructive wildfires in California. The company declared bankruptcy earlier this year, citing roughly $30 billion in liabilities related to wildfire damage.
The California Public Utilities Commission ripped PG&E officials at an emergency hearing earlier this month for providing inadequate notice and information to customers ahead of initial precautionary blackouts.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.