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Eight hour PG&E outage Saturday isn’t connected to wildfire power plan
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PG&E is cutting off the power to a southwest Manteca neighborhood Saturday for up to 8 hours but it has nothing to do with the for-profit utility’s plan to pull the plug on electricity in the city for between 2 and 5 days when extreme wildfire conditions exist in certain areas.

The planned outage is tied to work being done on a new subdivision southeast of Atherton Drive and Airport Way that fronts Woodward Avenue.

As for PG&E’s planned power outage dubbed the “Public Safety Power Shutoff” that’s connected with wildfire concerns Manteca is conducting a town hall meeting Thursday to share with the public what steps the city is taking to assure public safety and health. They also will advise residents on best to prepare for the PG&E imposed emergency. A question and answer period will follow the presentation.

The meeting takes place on Thursday, Aug. 1, from 7 to 8 p.m. at the fire station at 1154 South Union Road.

Manteca Fire Battalion Chief David Marques updated the City Council Tuesday on what steps the city is taking to prepare for PG&E possible turn off power to the city for 2 to 5 days.

Staff is in the process of securing a generator so the Manteca Senior Center can operate as an emergency cooling center for up to 5 days. The city needs to make significant alterations to the senior center electrical infrastructure to allow that to happen.

PG&E has asked for and received a list of critical care facilities in Manteca and key contacts for local agencies.

On Friday when city offices are closed staff will test backup generators for police dispatch, the emergency communication radio tower at the police department, and the finance department. Given some larger breakers haven’t been flipped for more than 30 years, the city has purchased replacement breakers in case they can’t be turned back on at the end of the test.

Even though Manteca is located nearly 60 miles from areas identified as severe wildfire areas, the transmission line that serves Tuolumne and Calaveras counties as well as much of San Joaquin County including Manteca, Lathrop, Tracy, Stockton and parts of Ripon runs right through Manteca.

PG&E has decided when severe wildfire conditions — high winds, low humidity, and dry vegetation — exist in areas the transmission lines serve it will be de-energized. That is so the company won’t be held liable if their energized equipment that is aging and in need of significant maintenance and upgrades won’t start a wildfire that they can be held liable for triggring.

Once power is cut to a transmission line it takes up to two days to make necessary safety checks to make sure it is safe to re-energize.

City leaders have continually advised people to prepare to be on their own for food, water, and other basic needs. Manteca will concentrate all of its resources to assure public safety and health.

PG&E has already said its antiquated and ill-maintained equipment nearly nine months ago likely started the Butte County fire that killed 86 people, destroyed 14,000 homes, and burned 5,000 other structures.

If you have questions contact Manteca Marques with at or bring your questions to the meeting on Thursday.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email