SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) crews today began assessing damage, making repairs and restoring electric service to residential and business customers after one of the strongest winter storms in years hit California.
High winds, heavy rains and snow in many places led to power outages, and crews continue to deal with those conditions and the aftermath of the storm as they work to restore customers. More than 400 crews and nearly 500 electric troublemen and inspectors are working on restoration. In some locations, PG&E has been using snowcats, truck-size tracked vehicles, to gain access to infrastructure in locations where snow is the deepest.
Hazardous conditions exist in many locations within PG&E’s service area. We urge our customers to be safe and prepare for weather-related power outages.
Since the storm started at midnight Tuesday through 4 p.m. today, about 575,000 PG&E customers have lost power due to the winds, rain and snow. Of those, 434,000 (or 75%) have been restored with approximately 141,000 customers still out of power.
The hardest-hit areas with the most remaining outages are in the Sacramento and Stockton regions as well as in Humboldt and Mendocino counties. About 16,000 customers in the Bay Area were still being affected by storm outages.
PG&E’s in-house meteorologists reported that maximum wind gusts during the storm included 80 mph gusts recorded at weather stations on Mount Diablo in Contra Costa County and Pelato Peak in Kern County. Overnight rainfall totals were recorded at 4.2 inches at Lake Elsman in the Santa Cruz Mountains and 5.5 inches on Rocky Butte on the southern Central Coast.
As this storm is predicted to be the first of a series of storms through this weekend, PG&E reminds its customers to stay safe, be prepared and have an emergency plan.
Storm 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 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.
- Secure outdoor furniture: Deck furniture, lightweight yard structures and decorative lawn items should be secured as they can be blown by high winds and damage overhead power lines and property.
- 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.
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 23,000 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.