By DENNIS WYATT
Manteca plans on how to deal with an emergency PG&E may create if the for-profit utility cuts power for 2 to 5 days to reduce its liability when extreme wildfire conditions exist will be shared Thursday with the public during a town hall meeting.
The meeting takes place on Thursday, Aug. 1, from 7 to 8 p.m. at the fire station at 1154 South Union Road.
City officials will discuss their preparation for what PG&E is dubbing the “Public Safety Power Shutoff”. A question and answer period will follow the presentation.
Contact Manteca Fire Battalion Chief David Marques with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or bring your questions to the meeting.
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.