Threat of possible wildfires prompt utility to shut off power in Northern California counties

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Pacific Gas and Electric has shut off power to about 87,000 customers in parts of more than a dozen Northern California counties.

The utility issued a statement Sunday evening saying the move was prompted by extreme fire weather conditions and strong winds.

Red Flag fire warnings hit areas including the East Bay hills in Oakland and Fremont, the hills of Napa and eastern Sonoma counties, the Diablo Range, the North Bay mountains, the Sacramento Valley and the northern Sierra Nevada and Northern Coast Range.

The utility says most customers can expect power to be restored on Monday night.

Pat Hogan, senior vice president of electric operations, says: "Nothing is more important than the safety of our customers and the communities we serve. We know how much our customers rely on electric service, and we have made the decision to turn off power as a last resort given the extreme fire danger conditions these communities are experiencing."

In San Diego County, a Red Flag warning took effect early Monday morning due to strong Santa Ana winds and conditions that pose fire dangers throughout the region. The warning is scheduled to run through Tuesday evening.

San Diego Gas & Electric officials said the utility did not have any immediate plans to turn off power, but their staff was prepared in the event a shutdown was required.

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