California is about to be hit by more power outages. Will it be less chaotic this time?

Armando Espinoza delivers paper products to a cafe in downtown Sonoma, Calif., where power was turned off, on Oct. 9. Pacific Gas & Electric cut power to more than half a million customers in Northern California, hoping to prevent wildfires during dry, windy weather throughout the region.
(Noah Berger/AP)

Californians will lose power this week as the winds return.

The question is how many will experience blackouts as utilities attempt to reduce the risk of fire.

Q: What areas are likely to be most affected?

Northern California communities.

Pacific Gas & Electric executives said during an early evening news conference Monday that as many as 201,000 customers could lose power beginning Wednesday evening because of a forecast of high winds. In addition, the utility said earlier it would consider cutting power to customers in parts of 15 counties as early as Wednesday as potentially strong, dry offshore winds blow into the Sierra foothills and North Bay.


The final call on the power shut-offs will not be made until Wednesday afternoon.

Q: Will there be a repeat of the problems that occurred earlier this month when millions lost power?

PG&E promised that it has improved its notification process after a planned outage earlier this month affecting more than 700,000 customers prompted widespread complaints that the power outage was too broad and lasted too long — leaving more than 2 million people in the dark.

PG&E President and CEO William D. Johnson said extra digital capacity has been added to PG&E’s website and 380 phone agents have been put in place to field calls, with top priority going to questions about the possible outage.

Customers said that the shut-offs created a whole new set of hazards by preventing people from getting news about fires. There was also concern about those with health issues who rely on electrically powered medical equipment to stay alive.

During the last planned outage, PG&E’s website crashed and customers had difficulty obtaining information about their service, adding to the frustration.

Q: How can I prepare?

Here are two resources:

-- How your cellphone can help you survive a power outage.


-- Have a plan before the blackout hits.

Q: Where are blackouts possible?


LOS ANGELES (1,762 customers)

Unincorporated areas including Castaic.

SAN BERNARDINO (5,751 customers)

San Bernardino, Fontana, unincorporated areas of Etiwanda, Grapevine Canyon, San Sevaine Flats, Devil’s Canyon, Serrano Village, Kendall, University, Cajon, Arrowhead Farms, North Park and Hudson.

SANTA BARBARA (2,898 customers)

Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, unincorporated areas including Gaviota, Jalama Beach, Montecito and Summerland.

VENTURA (4,439 customers)

Ventura, Moorpark, Simi Valley, Ojai and unincorporated areas of Ventura County and Santa Susana.


AMADOR (13,131 customers)

Amador City, Fiddletown, Jackson, Martell, Pine Grove, Pioneer, Plymouth, River Pines, Sutter Creek, Volcano

BUTTE (23,452 customers)

Bangor, Berry Creek, Brush Creek, Butte Meadows, Butte Valley, Chico, Clipper Mills, Cohasset, Feather Falls, Forbestown, Forest Ranch, Hurleton, Magalia, Oroville, Palermo, Paradise, Paradise Pines, Rackerby, Stirling City, Yankee Hill

CALAVERAS (14,586 customers)

Angels Camp, Arnold, Avery, Camp Connell, Dorrington, Douglas Flat, Glencoe, Hathaway Pines, Mokelumne Hill, Mountain Ranch, Murphys, Rail Road Flat, San Andreas, Sheep Ranch, Vallecito, Valley Springs, West Point, White Pines, Wilseyville

EL DORADO (39,786 customers)

Aukum, Cameron Park, Canyon, Camino, Coloma, Cool, Diamond Springs, El Dorado, Fair Play, Garden Valley, Georgetown, Greenwood, Grizzly Flats, Kelsey, Kyburz, Lotus, Mount Aukum, Omo Ranch, Pacific House, Pilot Hill, Placerville, Pollock Pines, Rescue, Shingle Springs, Silver Fork, Somerset, Twin Bridges

LAKE (1,895 customers)

Cobb, Kelseyville, Loch Lomond, Middletown, Upper Lake

MENDOCINO (862 customers)

Fort Bragg, Hopland, Potter Valley, Redwood Valley, Ukiah, Yorkville

NAPA (9,623 customers)

Angwin, Calistoga, Deer Park, Lake Berryessa, Napa, Oakville, Pope Valley, Rutherford, St. Helena, Yountville

NEVADA (37,098 customers)

Chicago Park, Grass Valley, Nevada City, North San Juan, Penn Valley, Rough and Ready, Soda Springs, Washington

PLACER (18,773 customers)

Alta, Applegate, Auburn, Baxter, Colfax, Dutch Flat, Emigrant Gap, Foresthill, Gold Run, Lincoln, Loomis, Meadow Vista, Newcastle, Rocklin, Sheridan, Weimar, Christian Valley

PLUMAS (785 customers)

Belden, Bucks Lake, La Porte, Quincy, Storrie, Tobin, Twain

SAN MATEO (6,462 customers)

Emerald Hills, Half Moon Bay, La Honda, Loma Mar, Pescadero, Portola Valley, Rackerby, Redwood City, San Gregorio, Woodside

SIERRA (1,160 customers)

Alleghany, Downieville, Goodyears Bar, Pike, Sierra City

SONOMA (33,613 customers)

Annapolis, Boyes Hot Springs, Cloverdale, Fulton, Geyserville, Glen Ellen, Guerneville, Healdsburg, Kenwood, Larkfield, Santa Rosa, Sonoma, Windsor

SUTTER (229 customers)

Pleasant Grove, Rio Oso

YUBA (7,474 customers)

Browns Valley, Brownsville, Camptonville, Challenge, Dobbins, Loma Rica, Marysville, Oregon House, Smartsville, Strawberry Valley, Wheatland