NewsCovering Kern County


PG&E says potential mass power outage would start Thursday in Kern County

Posted at 11:56 PM, Oct 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-09 11:29:30-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif — A big power shutoff could be coming to thousands of Kern County Pacific Gas and Electric customers later this week.

Over 42,000 customers in Kern could have their power turned off for 24 hours. The power outage is a safety precaution by PG&E to prevent wildfires while high winds whip across the state.

The company released a map Tuesday showing which areas of the county will be affected. However, due to traffic volume, the page may not load for some visitors.

Locals around town are bracing to potentially lose their power.

"I'm hoping that, if that's the fix until they figure out something else, I mean I guess so. We don't want wildfires but hopefully, there's another solution in mind in the future," said Lee Knotts-Martin, a Northeast Bakersfield resident.

Knotts-Martin and others living in Bakersfield are preparing for PG&E to flip the switch after the company made the announcement on Tuesday.

"We implement the public safety power shut off as a last resort and we really appreciate our customers, our communities patients as we continue to work hand in hand to face this unprecedented wildfire risk," said Sumeet Singh, the Vice President of PG&E's community wildfire safety program.

The company says 800,000 people statewide may be powered off. At a news conference Tuesday, officials explained that high winds will pose a fire risk to the state. PG&E says the high winds pose a severe fire threat, so that's what they'll be monitoring this week.

"That could impact our customers in the Bakersfield and the Kern County area and that's anticipated at the moment as early as Thursday, lasting to Friday morning," Singh said.

PG&E also said it will open community resource centers at several locations across the state starting Wednesday at 8 a.m. Officials said the centers will remain open during daylight hours only. The facilities will have restrooms, bottled water, electronic-device charging, and air conditioning. Unfortunately, none of those locations are in Kern County.

"This is the measure of last resort and given the extreme nature of what is being forecasted, we think this is the appropriate approach from a risk-reduction perspective to again make sure the continued safety of our customers and our communities," Singh said.