SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--More than 800 Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) personnel, including electric and vegetation management crews in the field, worked to prepare for and respond to outages and damage from Sunday’s strong wind event.
From the time the winds started blowing early Sunday morning through Monday afternoon, PG&E had restored nearly 400,000 customers who had their power knocked out due to winds and flying debris. At 2 p.m. today, about 12,000 customers remained without power, mostly in the East Bay and along the Central Coast. Crews will continue to work to make the needed repairs to restore all customers today.
The National Weather Service had issued wind advisories, and PG&E’s own meteorologists had forecast an extended period of high winds going into the weekend. PG&E issued a news release on Friday to help prepare customers.
Winds Across PG&E’s Weather Network
On Sunday, notable higher-terrain wind gusts were recorded at various weather stations: Pine Flat Road in Sonoma County (90 mph), Mt. St. Helena in Napa County (87 mph), Mt. Umunhum in Santa Cruz County (72 mph) and Grizzly Peak in Alameda County (62 mph). Notable low-elevation wind gusts were recorded at Oakland International Airport (53 mph), Fairfield (52 mph), Hayward (49 mph), Livermore (48 mph), Stockton (48 mph), Concord (47 mph) and Vacaville (46 mph). The National Weather Service reported a 125-mph gust at Alpine Meadows in Tahoe.
The high winds caused damage throughout PG&E’s service area, much of it from falling trees and flying branches and debris. PG&E activated 17 local emergency centers and moved crews to areas hit hardest by the strong winds to facilitate restoration. As crews were called to locations where outages had occurred, they found damage including hundreds of downed spans of power lines and dozens of broken poles, crossarms and transformers.
A PSPS Was Not Called
Although the wind speeds were similar to what was experienced last October, the conditions did not meet the thresholds for calling a Public Safety Power Shutoff as fuel and soil moisture values remain high enough to mitigate wildfire danger.
No single factor drives a Public Safety Power Shutoff as each situation is unique. PG&E carefully reviews a combination of many criteria when determining if power should be turned off for safety. These factors generally include, but are not limited to:
- A Red Flag Warning declared by the National Weather Service
- Low humidity levels, generally 20 percent and below
- Forecasted sustained winds generally above 25 mph and wind gusts in excess of approximately 45 mph, depending on location and site-specific conditions such as temperature, terrain and local climate
- Condition of dry fuel on the ground and live vegetation (moisture content)
- On-the-ground, real-time observations from PG&E’s Wildfire Safety Operations Center and observations from PG&E field crews
Preparation is the Key to Safety
As always, PG&E encourages customers to have a plan, prepare for power outages and above all else, stay safe. Customers can monitor local winds via www.pge.com/weather. Customers can get updates on outages in their neighborhood through a variety of channels.
- Contact our outage information line at 1-800-743-5002
- Access our Electric Outage Map online at pge.com
- Customers can also log-in to their account through pge.com and sign up to receive proactive outage alerts through email, text or phone
Storm Safety Tips
- Drive safely: When you’re behind the wheel, look out for fallen limbs and other debris in the roadways.
- Never touch downed wires: If you see a downed power line, assume it is energized and extremely dangerous. Do not touch or try to move it—and keep children and animals away. Report downed power lines immediately by calling 911 and by calling PG&E at 1-800-743-5002.
- Use flashlights, not candles: During a power outage, use battery-operated flashlights, and not candles, due to the risk of fire. If you must use candles, please keep them away from drapes, lampshades, animals and small children. Do not leave candles unattended.
- Have a backup phone: If you have a telephone system that requires electricity to work, such as a cordless phone or answering machine, plan to have a standard telephone or cellular phone ready as a backup.
- Have fresh drinking water, ice: Freeze plastic containers filled with water to make blocks of ice that can be placed in your refrigerator/freezer during an outage to prevent foods from spoiling. Blue Ice from your picnic cooler also works well in the freezer.
- Use generators safely: Customers with standby electric generators should make sure they are properly installed by a licensed electrician in a well-ventilated area. Improperly installed generators pose a significant danger to customers, as well as crews working on power lines. If using portable generators, be sure they are in a well-ventilated area.
- Turn off appliances: If you experience an outage, unplug or turn off all electrical appliances to avoid overloading circuits and to prevent fire hazards when power is restored. Simply leave a single lamp on to alert you when power returns. Turn your appliances back on one at a time when conditions return to normal.
- Safely clean up: After the storm has passed, be sure to safely clean up. Never touch downed wires and always call 811 or visit 811express.com at least two full business days before digging to have all underground utilities safely marked.
Other tips can be found at pge.com/beprepared
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities 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 www.pge.com/en/about/newsroom/index.page.