As PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutoffs continue throughout the Tri-Valley, residents and businesses who had their power turned back on Monday may lose it once again with the announcement that the utility company may again turn off the lights on Tuesday.
PG&E implemented the shutdown that affected tens of thousands of Tri-Valley residents -- as well as approximately 2 million users statewide -- on Saturday in order to counteract a so-called “wind event” that PG&E officials say heightened the chances of wildfires.
Weather forecasts anticipate another high velocity wind event that may be hitting the Bay Area on Tuesday, PG&E officials announced that further power shutoffs may be required as a safety measure to prevent wind-fueled fires -- beginning Tuesday morning and running through Wednesday morning.
That would mean that some regions may have gone without power for five to six days, possibly more.
“You don't expect this in a developed country like the U.S. you know, it's not a third world country to lose electricity for three days at a time ... It’s just very disruptive,” Dublin resident Ameet Arurkar said while charging his electronic devices at the Dublin Library. “It’s surprising that the government does so little… We shouldn’t be held hostage by a company that's gone bankrupt, the government should take over.”
Sunday also marked the Hindu celebration Diwali -- also known as the festival of lights -- a celebration that was hindered for many residents by the shutoff in parts of the Tri-Valley.
“It was our festival of light, but we were in the dark,” added Dublin resident Tejinder Arurkar. “It's one of the biggest festivals and I've never been so sad. I've lived in India for most of my life but I’ve never had a dark Diwali. Yesterday was my first ... It’s frustrating.”
While the Tri-Valley has largely been spared from wildfires -- with the exception of a 35-acre blaze on Mines Road in rural, unincorporated Livermore -- Contra Costa County has been beset by a handful of wildfires that have popped up throughout the county.
Fires broke out in Crockett, Martinez, Lafayette and Clayton at different times, resulting in the Contra Costa County Administrator of Emergency Services issuing a proclamation of local emergency on Sunday.
Plus the days-long Kincade Fire in Sonoma County continues to rage affecting air quality throughout the region, reaching Windsor on Sunday and rising to nearly 75,000 acres, destroyed 123 structures and is 15% contained.
In response to the fires that are raging throughout the North Bay and other parts of California on Sunday Gov. Gavin Newsom also went so far as to issue a statewide emergency declaration.
Tuesday has been declared a Spare the Air Day, as state officials hope to reduce the air pollution resulting from the wildfires.
As of 4 p.m. Monday, the majority of residents Dublin, Pleasanton and San Ramon have regained electricity with the exception of isolated pockets in southern Pleasanton and western San Ramon around the San Ramon Police Department headquarters, 2401 Crow Canyon Road.
Alamo and Danville still has some widespread outages, with large swaths of western Danville along El Cerro Boulevard and Diablo Road without power -- as well as sections of central Danville without electricity due to a downed power line unrelated to the public safety shutoff.
In an attempt to help residents have some idea of potential areas where outages may occur, PG&E officials have set up a webpage on www.pge.com with potential outage maps as well as a way to look up if specific addresses may or may not be affected. Residents can also view areas where outages are currently occurring in a different part of the same site.
The outages forced four Tri-Valley public schools to close down on Monday because of the shutoffs, with Pleasanton's Foothill High School and Lydiksen and Fairlands elementary schools closing down for the day, as well as Fallon Middle School in Dublin.
All San Ramon Valley Unified School District schools have remained open through the event despite Green Valley, Live Oak, Montair, Monte Vista, Rancho Romero and Vista Grande having gone without power for part of the day on Monday.
All schools will remain open as usual on Tuesday, SRVUSD officials said.
Residents are also reminded that increased fire danger is not the only risk associated with high velocity winds, as flying debris and broken branches can also pose a significant danger to residents.
In Danville for instance a “major branch” of the town’s Old Oak Tree collapsed due to ferocious wind gusts and closed a section of Diablo Road near the downtown area, according to town staff.
East Bay Regional Park District officials also closed all parks until 9 a.m. on Thursday out of fear that the high winds would endanger park goers.
For residents without power, the Pleasanton Library (400 Old Bernal Ave.), the Dublin Library, (200 Civic Plaza) and San Ramon Regional Medical South Building, (7777 Norris Canyon Road), provided areas where residents can charge their various devices and access WiFi.
Additional outages from Tuesday’s wind event are projected to affect some areas in Danville, Dublin, Pleasanton and San Ramon starting early Tuesday morning, according to PG&E officials.