SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With an ongoing Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) event that could have affected about 53,000 customers, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) continued Thursday to focus on safety, monitor the weather, and support our customers recognizing the hardship that a PSPS represents.
Here are some updates on the weather, the event, and how customers are being supported.
Oct. 14-16 Public Safety Power Shutoff
About 53,000 customers in 24 counties were within the original forecasted PSPS footprint. Due to some improving weather conditions and deployment of technology, only about 41,000 were de-energized. This includes 4,000 customers in the Southern Sierra who had been told that they would be de-energized today have now been told that more favorable weather means that they won’t lose power during the PSPS event.
Before the event began, PG&E was able to reduce the impact of the PSPS event by keeping about 12,000 customers energized through temporary and permanent generation, off-grid service, and by using devices that split or sectionalize power lines, which allows more precise de-energization. PG&E’s goal this year is to reduce the number of customers affected by a PSPS event by one-third compared to last year.
In some locations, the severe weather subsided enough during the day for PG&E’s Meteorology team to issue an “all clear,” meaning that electric crews could begin patrols of power lines as the first step toward restoration. Once de-energized for a PSPS event, power lines must be visually inspected to ensure that no wind-driven damage or hazards such as tree limbs entwined in lines exist. Once inspected, the lines can be energized, restoring service to customers. As of 6 p.m. today, PG&E restored about 8,000 customers who had been de-energized for this event with an expectation that another 2,000 customers could be restored tonight.
PG&E expects that the “all clear” will be issued in all remaining areas of the PSPS footprint Friday morning, which means more than 1,000 PG&E employees will be on the ground or in more than 40 helicopters to conduct line patrols and restore customers. The majority of customers affected by this PSPS event are expected to be restored by late Friday.
Community Resource Centers
To support our customers during this PSPS event, PG&E opened 40 Community Resource Centers (CRCs) that operate from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. throughout the event. These temporary CRCs will be open to customers when power is out at their homes and will provide ADA-accessible restrooms, hand-washing stations, medical-equipment charging, Wi-Fi, bottled water, grab-and-go bags, and non-perishable snacks.
Many of these CRCs opened Wednesday afternoon and all were open on Thursday. As of this afternoon, about 1,500 customers visited a CRC.
PG&E updates its CRC locations regularly. Click here for updates.
Support for Customers with Medical Needs
PG&E is also partnering with 47 community-based organizations (CBOs) to assist customers with medical, financial, language, and aging needs before, during, and after PSPS events. These activities include:
Collaborating with the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC) through a grant program to support the Access and Functional Needs (AFN) community. This support for customers with medical and independent living needs includes:
- Enabling qualifying customers who use electrical medical devices to access backup portable batteries
- Emergency preparedness outreach and education
- Promotion of Medical Baseline Program
- Accessible transportation resources
- Hotel stays
- Food stipends
- Working with 14 food banks and 17 local Meals on Wheels chapters.
- Expanding availability of materials in American Sign Language (ASL).
- Providing emergency information in 13 languages.
- Establishing an advisory group to help create solutions for emergency preparedness for customers with medical needs.
Details about these resources are at our website at pge.com/disabilityandaging
Also, as of Oct. 14, PG&E provided a total of 1,244 portable batteries to customers to support backup power, including:
- 636 portable batteries provided to customers through CFILC’s Disability Disaster Access and Resources Program.
- 608 portable batteries provided to customers through PG&E’s Portable Battery Program.
During this Oct. 14-16 PSPS event, PG&E’s partners have engaged proactively or reactively with nearly 2,400 individuals. Through Thursday afternoon, 119 customers have used batteries provided by the CFILC and 34 hotel stays have been coordinated.
Here’s Where to Go to Learn More
- PG&E’s emergency website www.pge.com/pspsupdates is now available in 13 languages. Currently, the website is available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Russian, Vietnamese, Korean, Farsi, Arabic, Hmong, Khmer, Punjabi, and Japanese. Customers will have the opportunity to choose their language of preference for viewing the information when visiting the website.
- Customers are encouraged to update their contact information and indicate their preferred language for notifications by visiting www.pge.com/mywildfirealerts or by calling 1-800-742-5000, where in-language support is available.
- Tenants and non-account holders can sign up to receive PSPS ZIP Code Alerts for any area where you do not have a PG&E account by visiting www.pge.com/pspszipcodealerts.
- PG&E has launched a new tool at its online Safety Action Center (www.safetyactioncenter.pge.com) to help customers prepare an emergency plan. By using the "Make Your Own Emergency Plan" tool and answering a few short questions, visitors to the website can compile and organize the important information needed for a personalized family emergency plan.
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 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit pge.com and pge.com/news.