As a precautionary measure against forest fires, an energy provider in the US state of California shut down hundreds of thousands of customers. The first phase of power cuts affected around 530,000 households, corporate offices and other buildings, many of them in the Napa Valley wine-growing area, which is popular with tourists.
Pacific Gas & Electric (PG & E) announced it had started shutdowns in the north and center of California during the night of Wednesday.
Later Wednesday, power was to be cut by up to 270,000 other customers, including around San Francisco. The metropolis on the Pacific should not be affected by the shutdowns themselves. Overall, the targeted blackout millions of Americans were cut off from the power supply.
Power cuts can take weeks
Although PG & E wants to start on Thursday already to take customers back on the grid after it has inspected its power network for possible damage. However, in individual zones, according to the company, it may take longer for the affected customers to get power again.
On the north and the center of the state was on Wednesday a great drought, combined with strong winds of up to 110 km / h. Under these weather conditions, larger forest and bush fires can easily break out. As a precautionary measure, schools and universities stopped teaching, many citizens bunkered fuel, water and batteries, the US media reported.
The fatal "Camp Fire" in California in November 2018 with 85 dead was triggered by PG & E power lines. PG & E has become responsible for the "Camp Fire". In September, the San Francisco-based company closed a settlement with insurance companies for $ 11 billion in damages.