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Monterey County works with electric company to minimize wildfire

power outages
KION

MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. (KION) To minimize wildfire risks, Pacific Gas and Electric Company is shutting off power for up to 25,000 customers in 20 counties, including Monterey County.

“We had power this morning and we’ll see once we get home if we still have power," said Edith Jimenez. "Who knows?”

Edith Jimenez and her husband Sergio Fonseca are among the hundreds of King City residents who can potentially lose power. Everyone in the community depends on power especially since the majority of homes have electric stoves, she said.

“What they’re doing is good because it's preventing the risk of fires," said Jimenez. "But, on the other hand, it's not so good because it impacts us from being able to cook."

PG&E began to notify people of the potential Public Safety Power Shut Off Event on Sunday. For the public’s safety, this is done as a last resort due to extreme climates such as strong winds, a red flag warning, and the current terrain conditions. In Monterey County, 854 people were informed about the outages.

PG&E Communications Specialist, Evelyn Escalera said, “This outage may last, you know until tomorrow. We have to wait until these wind gusts, you know, diminish quite a bit. At that point, our PG&E crews will begin the inspection process to ensure that it is safe to re-establish you know, power to customers.”

Similar to PG&E, the Monterey County Regional Fire said their prevention work has also played a role in reducing the risk of potential fires. But they both also credit the weather since it has been better in comparison to last year. However, the Monterey County Regional Fire said, winds are a bit higher than usual and there is still a risk for fire.

“We want to make sure that people maintain their level of vigilance and fire safety," said Dorothy Priolo with Monterey County Regional Fire. "Because until we have a full recovery from this current drought situation, we can't let our guard down and expect that a wildfire can occur at any time of the year.”

PG&E will notify people if another Public Safety Power Shut Off is implemented. The resource center at the Salinas Valley Fairground will be open until 10 p.m where people can find charging stations, wifi, and snacks if needed. 

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Jonathan Sarabia

Jonathan is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.

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