SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) crews continue to patrol and inspect powerlines, and make any necessary repairs, after a strong windstorm interrupted electric service for more than 371,000 customers across Central and Northern California this week.
As of early Thursday morning, more than 93 percent of customers who lost power due to the extremely high winds have been restored. Approximately 23,000 customers remain out of service with approximately 11,500 in the Sierra foothills an 10,250 in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Hundreds of crews are working in locations where the wind did the most damage to PG&E’s electric infrastructure. PG&E is cautioning that due to the significant extent of the wind damage, plus access issues caused by fallen trees, damaged homes, downed power lines and poles, and debris blocking roads, some PG&E customers in those the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Sierra foothills in Madera and Mariposa counties may be without power until Friday or longer.
“We understand the challenges that an extended power outage presents to our customers and our communities. Our crews are working to restore our customers safely, and as quickly as possible. The damage we have found from this windstorm has been monumental, but we are committed and have a relentless focus on to doing the job until all of our customers are restored,” said Sumeet Singh, PG&E’s Interim President.
In the Santa Cruz Mountains, a heavily forested area with narrow roads, the damage is considerable and still being assessed. A wind gust of 81 mph was recorded during the storm at a weather station on Mt. Umunhum. PG&E flew the area by helicopter on Wednesday to gauge the damage. PG&E will have 64 crews on-site today, working to restore customers.
In Mariposa and Madera counties, south of Yosemite National Park, the damage is equally substantial and devastating. Today, 95 PG&E crews will be on-site for repair and restoration work. Maximum wind gusts there reached 62 mph at the Triangle Road weather station in Mariposa County.
To support customers, PG&E opened Customer Resource Centers (CRCs) Wednesday afternoon in some of the hardest-hit areas, including Oakhurst, North Fork, Mariposa, La Honda, Pescadero and Scotts Valley. The CRCs will remain open throughout the duration of restoration. For more information, visit pge.com/crc. PG&E will be updating estimated restoration times on its website so customers get a better sense of when power will be specifically restored to their address.
PG&E did initiate a targeted Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) early Tuesday for about 5,000 customers in seven counties. Service has been restored to all the customers affected by the PSPS, except for those in areas where circuits sustained wind damage. Those repairs are ongoing.
Extended Outage Safety Tips
- 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 9-1-1 and by calling PG&E at 1-800-743-5002.
- 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.
- Use flashlights, not candles: During a power outage, use battery-operated flashlights, and not candles, due to the risk of fire. And keep extra batteries on hand. 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. Having a portable charging device helps to keep your cell phone running.
- 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.
- 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 8-1-1 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 www.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 energy companies in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 23,000 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.