Wednesday, October 21, 2020 - 08:00

Electricity may be shut off to 50,000 Northern California utility customers this week to try to prevent power lines from sparking and igniting new wildfires during a predicted new round of gusty, hot and dry weather.

Customers in parts of 19 counties and in two tribal communities were notified Monday of a potential public safety power shutoff starting as early as Wednesday evening, Pacific Gas & Electric said.

The utility has better targeted outages to limit impact after it was criticized in 2019 for cutting power to about 800,000 customers, about 2 million people, for days. De-energized lines have to be inspected for damage before power can be restored.

PG&E said high-risk conditions are expected Wednesday evening through Friday primarily in the northern Sacramento Valley and nearby elevated terrain, the northern Sierra Nevada , the mountains north of San Francisco Bay and Mount Diablo in the East Bay.

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