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800,000 customers across Northern and Central California will have power cut off

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In a unprededented move, a Caifornia power company has decided to cut power to thousands in an effort to prevent forest fires.

PG&E power shutoffs have started. The first phase is done. The second phase will start around 12 p.m. A third phase is being considered.

The shutoffs will impact some 800,000 customers across Northern and Central California.

Around 12 a.m., PG&E started the first phase, cutting off power to roughly 513,000 customers across Northern California, including areas of Marin, Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties, amid windy and dry conditions, which create extreme fire danger. The second phase, which is scheduled to begin around 12 p.m. Wednesday, is expected to impact about 234,000 customers across Northern and Central California, including customers in the following Bay Area counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and Santa Clara. A third round of shutoffs is being considered for about 42,000 customers across PG&E's southernmost service areas.

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"We understand the effects this event will have on our customers and appreciate the public's patience as we do what is necessary to keep our communities safe and reduce the risk of wildfire," said Michael Lewis, PG&E's senior vice president of electric operations, in a statement.

The choice to cut the power is a result of the fires that occured last year and the lawsuits that ensued for damages attributed in part fallen live power lines coming in contact with dry brush in high winds.

Both the company and the state authorities had all year to make improvements to the grid and make updates to the control systems, but apparently this did not happen. The solution for PG&E is to shut the system down, leaving thousands in the dark.

That means no lights, no cell phones, no internet, no gas, no bank machines, and no groceries save for those few stores that know what the prices of the goods on the shelves are and accept cash. There maybe many who managed to pickup a generator after last year's emergancy, but that would be a small percentage of those affected this year.

Hopefully those who rely on lectric vehicles managed to get them charged before the power was taken offline.