SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As part of its commitment to help its customers and communities with the recovery and rebuilding process, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) said today that nearly all customers in Paradise who can receive natural gas service have been safely restored or can now be restored by calling to have PG&E relight their pilot lights.
PG&E crews have completed repairing, testing and restoring of gas mains in Paradise where PG&E provides natural gas service.
PG&E is communicating with customers that service can be restored by calling 800-743-5000.
PG&E urges customers not to attempt to turn on their gas meters themselves, but to call PG&E so that gas technicians can arrange a time to visit customers to safely relight pilot lights when the customers are present.
“Restoring electricity and gas is an essential first step on the journey to rebuild the community devastated by this fire. Crews have worked tirelessly for the past two months to make safe, assess and rebuild the natural gas system in Paradise. As PG&E moves forward with its long-term rebuilding plans, we are also working closely with the town of Paradise and Butte County to ensure that the infrastructure reconstruction effort fully aligns with their strategy for rebuilding these communities,” said Aaron Johnson, a vice president in PG&E’s electric operations who is leading the company’s community rebuilding efforts in Butte County.
PG&E began restoring gas service to customers beginning in mid-December, as work on each of the 16 sections of the area’s gas system was completed. More than 500 of the about 1,800 customers who can receive gas have called and had their service restored.
The Town of Paradise and County of Butte have inspected buildings and identified (through a process called “green tagging”) structures that can accept electricity and natural gas service, which is a requirement before PG&E can restore service. On December 16, PG&E restored electricity to virtually all buildings in the Camp Fire area that can receive service.
Before gas mains were restored, PG&E provided portable natural gas to critical infrastructure including the Paradise police and fire stations, town hall, and the Adventist Health center.
PG&E has suspended all customer service disconnections and credit/collection activities in areas affected by the fire.
Customers with questions in the region can contact PG&E customer service directly at 1-800-PGE-5000 and select the Camp Fire prompt.
Expanding and Accelerating our Wildfire Safety Efforts
As an additional precautionary measure to help further reduce wildfire risks, in high fire-threat areas PG&E is conducting accelerated safety inspections of electric infrastructure from top to bottom. This work is in addition to routine inspections and maintenance programs and is being done through ground, climbing or helicopter inspections and, in some cases, drones. Crews are working to inspect approximately 50,000 transmission poles and towers across more than 5,500 miles of transmission line in areas designated by the California Public Utilities Commission as at higher risk of wildfire (called High Fire Threat District Tier 2 and Tier 3). PG&E will take action right away to address any immediate risk to public safety found during the accelerated inspections. Similar inspections of distribution lines in high fire-threat areas will begin early this year. More information is available at www.pge.com/wildfireinspections.
Given the continued and growing threat of extreme weather and wildfire, as seen in 2017 and 2018, we are evolving and expanding our Community Wildfire Safety Program as an additional precautionary measure to further reduce wildfire risks and help keep our customers and the communities we serve safe. The following includes an overview of our ongoing and expanded wildfire safety actions.
More Real-Time Monitoring and Intelligence
- Coordinating prevention and response efforts by monitoring wildfire risks in real time from our Wildfire Safety Operations Center.
- Adding approximately 1,300 new PG&E weather stations by 2022 to enhance weather forecasting and modeling.
- Supporting the installation of nearly 600 high-definition cameras in high fire-threat areas by 2022, increasing coverage across high fire-risk areas to more than 90 percent.
New and Enhanced Safety Measures
- Further enhancing vegetation management efforts with an increased focus on addressing the vegetation that poses a higher potential for wildfire risk, such as overhanging branches and dead and dying trees.
- Performing accelerated safety inspections of electric towers and poles from top to bottom through ground, climbing or helicopter inspections and, in some cases, drones. This is in addition to our routine inspections and maintenance programs.
- Disabling automatic reclosing of circuit breakers and reclosers on lines in high fire-risk areas during wildfire season.
- Proactively turning off electric power for safety as a last resort when extreme fire danger conditions are forecasted (Public Safety Power Shutoff), and helping customers prepare by providing early warning notification when and where possible.
System Hardening and Resiliency
- Installing stronger and more resilient poles and covered power lines in the highest fire-risk areas over the course of the next 10 years, reducing the likelihood of damage from debris, animals and birds.
- Replacing equipment to further reduce wildfire risks and tailoring upgrades based on terrain and weather conditions using more granular analysis of fire-prone regions.
- Piloting new resilience zones to allow PG&E to provide electricity to central community resources serving local customers during a Public Safety Power Shutoff event.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric energy companies in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com and pge.com/news.