SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Overnight and through the day Friday, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) crews continued assessing winter storm damage, making repairs and restoring electric service to customers in Northern and Central California. That work will continue until every customer has been restored.
Now, 95 percent of residences and businesses that lost power due to strong winds, heavy rains and deep snow earlier this week have had their power restored. Crews continue to focus on the areas where the largest number of customers remain without of power, including locations in Mendocino, Calaveras, Tuolumne, Yolo, Amador and Humboldt counties. In those locations and elsewhere, PG&E has found more than 1,500 instances of damaged infrastructure where equipment needs to be replaced or repaired, including 365 broken poles and 1,417 spans of wire.
As of Friday afternoon, approximately 42,000 customers are without power due to storm damage. Of those, approximately 10,000 customers are located where PG&E crews can’t gain access due to high snow, falling trees and blocked roads. Where crews can access damaged equipment, they will continue to restore service to customers today, tonight and through the weekend.
Based on 30 years of weather data, PG&E meteorologists describe this week’s winter storm as the strongest since 2011 and say that it caused the highest two-day and three-day outage totals since 2010.
Being without power for an extended time creates inconvenience and hardships for our customers, and PG&E appreciates the patience of our customers. PG&E has been reaching out to every customer today who is still without power due to storm-related outages. This includes automated phone calls with updated information as well as through other channels. As crews complete damage assessments, customers will get updates providing their estimated time of restoration.
To support communities experiencing extended outages, PG&E has provided a variety of support including contributing $50,000 to the American Red Cross for storm relief, delivering blankets and water to customers in Yolo County and providing 21 megawatts of temporary generation to keep critical facilities powered in four counties.
Since the storm arrived on Tuesday, Jan. 26, through this afternoon, crews have been able to restore power to approximately 818,000 customers (95%) out of the approximately 860,000 who lost it due to heavy wind, rain and snow.
PG&E crews, as well as some contract and mutual-aid crews, are in the field, assessing conditions, making repairs and restoring customers. Due to treacherous conditions and difficult terrain, these assessment activities are ongoing. Damage from wind, heavy rains and snow has caused access issues due to roads blocked by trees, debris and snow In some locations, PG&E has been using helicopters, snow cats and four-wheel drive vehicles to gain access to infrastructure in the hardest-hit areas.
More than 450 crews plus another 500 or so troublemen and qualified electrical workers are engaged in assessment and restoration work. They are being supported by thousands of other employees who are staffing PG&E emergency-response centers, either virtually or in person.
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.