California is preparing to spend a week in the dark ... The fault of the violent and dry winds that will sweep the state for several days. The relationship between weather and electricity is not obvious? We explain to you. Several local power companies, including the main one, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG & E), cut the power to thousands of homes to limit the risk of fire. Between the winds, the drought and the old equipment, the danger is indeed maximum.
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The cuts, unprecedented in California, will affect a total of nearly two million people between northern California and around San Francisco. They could last several days, the time for the operator to inspect all its facilities once the alert has passed, warned Pacific Gas & Electric (PG & E). The cuts will take place in phases. The city of San Francisco will not be directly affected but part of its bay is expected to be powerless, including some areas of Silicon Valley.
The memory of "Camp Fire"
Last year, the region was the victim of gigantic and deadly fires, for which PG & E had been blamed. The fire was gone due to outdated high-voltage lines that had touched trees. The "Camp Fire" ravaged the Californian village of Paradise, killing at least 86 people and destroying 18,000 buildings. Weather conditions at the time were similar to those currently prevailing in northern California, a region repeatedly affected in recent years by heavy forest fires.
Pointed out for its outdated facilities and inadequate maintenance of vegetation around power lines, PG & E went bankrupt in January. Last month, the company announced the payment of $ 11 billion (about 10 billion euros) to insurance companies that have compensated the victims of "Camp Fire".
PG & E opens centers to recharge electrical appliances
At the news of these power cuts, Californians rushed to the stores to stock up on batteries, water, food and gas. To mitigate the impact of the cuts, PG & E has opened "centers" in the areas concerned where people can come to recharge their electrical appliances, benefit from air-conditioned premises, etc.
The red flag for fires also floats over southern California, where other operators could turn off the power.