SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--PG&E crews have restored nearly all customers who lost electricity following a powerful “atmospheric river” weather system that battered the company’s service area with days of record-breaking rain, snow and wind.
As of 2:00pm about 98 percent of the nearly 944,000 customers who lost power during the storm had their power restored. The remainder of customers are primarily located in hard-hit areas where roads remain closed due to heavy snowfall, debris flows, or other damage. PG&E will continue to work to gain access to these customers and restore power as safely and as quickly as possible.
Even as the PG&E crews work to overcome such obstacles and reconnect service safely and as quickly as possible, meteorologists are monitoring a new winter system that could bring more wet and stormy weather to Northern and Central California starting Monday.
“We want to thank our customers and our communities that we are privileged to serve for their support and their patience in the aftermath of this severe storm,” said Sumeet Singh, PG&E’s interim president. “Since this historic storm started, more than 5,000 of PG&E’s field team members, contract partners and mutual assistance support from other utilities have worked tirelessly to inspect our system, repair significant damage and restore power to our customers in the hardest hit areas. We recognize the frustration and inconvenience caused by prolonged outages and are sincerely grateful for the understanding of all those who have been impacted.”
Since midnight on Tuesday, Jan. 26, through Saturday morning, more than 944,000 PG&E customers lost power due to heavy wind, rain and snow. PG&E 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.
At the peak of the restoration effort, more than 450 crews were working to assess and repair damage and restore power as safely and as quickly as possible for customers.
Based on 30 years of weather data, PG&E meteorologists describe this week’s storm as the strongest since 2011 and say that it caused the highest two-day and three-day outage totals since 2010.
Winter Weather Ahead
PG&E’s meteorology team forecasts a relatively cold and strong weather system will move through the company’s service area late Monday into Tuesday. Customers who may be impacted are encouraged to review storm safety tips and take the necessary precautions to stay safe during winter weather.
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 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.
Customers can find additional tips 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 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.