Thursday, November 21, 2019 - 06:30

About 50,000 homes and businesses across Northern California were without power on Wednesday during the latest planned outage instituted by utility Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to guard against risk of wildfire during dry, windy weather.

The precautionary shutoffs included considerably fewer customers than originally projected as a spokeswoman for the utility said improving weather conditions allowed them to keep the lights on in many areas.

“Weather conditions ended up improving in some areas, and we were able to reduce the customer count for this (Public Safety Power Shutoff), PG&E spokeswoman Ari Vanrenen told Reuters.

The outages are a response to forecasts for humidity levels to drop and heavy desert winds to howl through the region, a scenario that strengthens the risk of wildfires ignited by downed power lines.

The utility said it was monitoring conditions for another 14,000 customers and could have to cut power to them depending on the weather. A power customer can be a single residence or a large business.

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