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97% of blackout customers have power restored

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A helicopter hovers above large electrical towers while inspecting the lines in Orinda, Calif., on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. Business continue to be closed due to the recent Pacific Gas & Electric shutdown. The utility company began restoring power to Bay Area residents Thursday, taking the first steps in what could be a days-long process to end an outage that left many homes and businesses in the dark. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/East Bay Times via AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Pacific Gas & Electric says it’s restored power to 97% of the customers it deliberately blacked out because of weather-related fire concerns.

PG&E reports Friday night that of the estimated 738,000 homes and businesses it deliberately blacked out Wednesday, only 21,000 are still without electricity.

The outage affected portions of 35 counties in the San Francisco Bay Area, wine country, Central Valley and Sierra Nevada foothills. PG&E was concerned that dry, gusty winds would down power lines or throw debris into them, sparking brushfires. PG&E equipment was blamed for a deadly November fire.

Winds gusting to 70 mph (112 kph) were reported Wednesday and Thursday. The utility says there were 30 instances of weather-related damage to its system during the shutoff.

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