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All those years of insufficient maintenance caught up with PG&E Corp. (NYSE: PCG) in 2017 and 2018 when wildfires raged through Northern California destroying thousands of homes and causing at least 100 deaths. In order to avoid a repeat of past disasters, the company cut off power to 513,000 customers early Wednesday morning in response to forecasts for widespread areas of high winds.
Power will be shut off to another 234,000 customers at around noon PT on Wednesday with a potential for 42,000 more to lose power later. The company said they expected the winds to last through midday Thursday, although the risk in some areas remains “elevated” into Friday.
In cities affected by the power shutdown, officials have warned residents to be prepared for six powerless days.
A two-day blackout could post a loss of $2.6 billion for the affected area, and PG&E likely will be off the hook for those costs.