Pacific Gas and Electric Co. said Wednesday it expects to cut power to 33 Kern County customers starting at 1 a.m. Thursday, down from the 75 it anticipated as recently as Tuesday.

The shutoffs are expected to hit 19 customers on the far eastern edge of Bakersfield, 12 customers in the Arvin area and two customers in southern Lebec.

PG&E said it hopes to restore power to those customers at about noon Friday.

The outages are considered preemptive measures based on forecasts of dry, hot and windy weather — conditions that raise the risk of wildfires.

Other parts of California that could also lose power include the Sierra Nevada foothills, the North Bay and San Mateo County. In all, 179,000 customers in 19 counties were listed as being at risk of shutoffs.

This would be the second time PG&E has taken the extraordinary and controversial step of intentionally cutting off power to its customers as a way to lower chances that its equipment will spark wildfires, as has happened in recent years.

The San Francisco-based utility said it would inspect de-energized power lines to make sure they were not damaged by wind. If they look in good condition, that's when power would be restored, it said.

"PG&E will safely restore power in stages as quickly as possible, with the goal of restoring the vast majority of customers within 48 hours after the weather has passed," the company said in a news release Wednesday.

Customers that might be affected by the shutoffs were first notified of that possibility Monday by text, phone calls and emails, PG&E said. That outreach was followed by additional customer notifications Tuesday, it said.

The company added it's possible that customers not notified of possible outages could lose power because of equipment that might get damaged by wind.

John Cox can be reached at 661-395-7404. Follow him on Twitter: @TheThirdGraf.

(1) comment

KenWitham

Geez, at this point they might as well just inform directly the 33 who they are.

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