It’s not likely that Escalon would be impacted for a long time, but there is the possibility that planned power outages by Pacific Gas and Electric could still hit the community.
That’s the word from Escalon Police Chief Mike Borges, who attended a meeting of San Joaquin County First Responders, put on by the utility company on May 28.
The outages this summer are more likely for Tier II and Tier III areas, those most prone to wildfires – which Escalon is not – but the city could be affected if PG&E lines in those areas provide power to other entities that supply the city. Those could include MID or SSJID in some areas.
“San Joaquin County has one little area on the northeast side of the county” that falls within the Tier II guidelines, Borges told the Escalon City Council on Monday night, June 3, but said officials aren’t anticipating any lengthy outages.
In the worst case scenario, PG&E has advised residents in the Tier II and Tier III areas to be prepared for up to five days of lost power if they have to shut down the lines during conditions ripe for causing wildfire.
In Escalon, said Borges, it likely would be just a few hours for an outage.
“This is all triggered by the fire season,” Borges added, in light of the major fires that have decimated areas of the state over the past couple of years.
There will be a 24/7 forecasting center in place, PG&E is clearing 14 feet around transmission lines instead of the previous four and there will be more remote cameras watching in the rural areas to catch any fires early.
A representative from PG&E is scheduled to attend the next council meeting, Monday, June 17 to provide a more comprehensive overview of the new fire prevention plan.
“What’s important is getting the word out,” Mayor Robert Swift said of the June 17 session, encouraging residents to attend the session or watch the council meeting on U Tube to get updated on the plan.
The June 17 meeting will begin at 7 p.m.; prior to that, a 6 p.m. budget session is scheduled and Swift invited residents to attend that as well, as the council looks to prepare the 2019-2020 fiscal year budget.
The council on Monday night set a $15,100,393 appropriations limit for the budget.