Hundreds in rural SLO County and Santa Maria lose power in PG&E shutoff

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Gusty winds and dry conditions caused PG&E to preemptively cut power to hundreds of households in rural southern San Luis Obispo County and Santa Maria on Jan. 19—part of the utility’s first wave of Public Safety Power Shutoffs in 2021.

The shutoff, which spans seven Central California counties, is impacting 462 customers around Huasna, Suey, Twitchell Reservoir, and Tepusquet—sparsely populated areas east of Arroyo Grande, Nipomo, and Santa Maria.
SHUTOFFS More than 450 customers in SLO and northern Santa Barbara counties are without power due to a PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoff on Jan. 19. - MAP COURTESY OF SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY
  • MAP COURTESY OF SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY
  • SHUTOFFS More than 450 customers in SLO and northern Santa Barbara counties are without power due to a PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoff on Jan. 19.

Of those without electricity, 91 are in SLO County and 371 are in Santa Barbara County. About a dozen residents who depend on power for medical devices are affected. Another 66 customers across both counties have also lost power due to unplanned outages.

PG&E announced the potential for a shutoff on Jan. 17 as it monitored a “powerful, offshore weather event” two days after SLO County broke a winter temperature record. About 5,200 customers are affected statewide.



“We will not begin restoration efforts until the extreme conditions have subsided and we’ve been given the all-clear by the PG&E Emergency Operations Center,” PG&E spokesperson Mark Mesesan told New Times via email. “Then, we will use ground crews, helicopters, and other resources to inspect our equipment and safely expedite any necessary repairs before we begin to re-energize customers.”

Those customers impacted by the shutoff can visit community resources centers at the Grover Beach Community Center and the First Christian Church in Santa Maria to access portable charging devices, Wi-Fi, blankets, and food.

According to the National Weather Service, hazardous wind gusts are forecasted to continue through the evening of Jan. 19. PG&E has not provided an expected date and time for ending the shutoff, other than giving a date range of Jan. 18 through 20.

“Winds will continue to howl all up and down the Bay Area/Central Coast before gradually leveling off this evening,” a Jan. 19 tweet from the National Weather Service’s San Francisco Bay Area account read. “For now, be sure to report any downed power lines to local authorities.” ∆
Peter Johnson

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