Unprecedented power outages begin in California as winds bring critical fire danger; rooftop solar demand spike likely, says Rose Law Group co-founder Court Rich

By Joseph Serna, Jaclyn Cosgrove, Patrick McGreevy | Los Angeles Times

In an unprecedented move, Pacific Gas & Electric early Wednesday began shutting off power to about 800,000 customers across Northern California in an attempt to avoid wildfires caused by winds damaging power equipment.

The first power cutoffs, expected to affect 513,000 customers, began shortly after midnight in several counties around Sacramento, including Placer and Yuba, amid strengthening winds and continued to roll out into the early morning hours.

The blackouts will impact 34 counties in Central and Northern California. It would be the biggest power shutdown so far as utilities across the state attempt to reduce wildfire risk due to heavy wind. Utilities malfunctions have been tied to some of the state’s most destructive fires, including last year’s Camp fire, which devastated Paradise, Calif., and the 2017 wine country blazes.


“With the prospect of week-long blackouts, I expect that rooftop solar paired with battery storage will be in high demand in Northern California in the coming days. At least we have technology like battery storage that can lesson the blow of this inconvenient and terribly dangerous situation.”

~Court Rich