SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has restored most of the customers who lost electricity following two powerful winter storms that hit Northern and Central California just days apart this week, and caused power outages to nearly 490,000 customers. These storms battered the company’s service area with several days of strong wind gusts, heavy rain and deep snow accumulation.
As of noon Friday, nearly 12,000 customers, primarily in Butte and Plumas counties, remained without power. Restoration for those final customers will continue tonight and should be completed by Saturday.
The remaining customers without power live where roads remain closed due to heavy snowfall or other damage. PG&E will continue to work to gain access to these customers and restore power safely and as quickly as possible.
In recent days, PG&E moved crews from less-impacted areas to the North Valley to bolster the restoration efforts there.
“Although rain and snow are certainly welcomed here in California, we know that anytime a customer loses power that it’s an inconvenience or worse, and that’s certainly true for customers who experience longer duration outages,” said Marlene Santos, PG&E’s Chief Customer Officer. “We want to thank our customers for their patience and support. Rest assured that the 24,000 men and women of PG&E worked with a single purpose this week: To safely restore your power.”
This week’s winter storms have caused significant damage to PG&E’s equipment, with repair or replacement needed for 176 poles, 262 transformers, 900 spans of wire and 236 cross-arms. Areas that sustained the most storm damage during the two storms include the Sierra region, Santa Cruz Mountains and other areas of the Central Coast, and farther north in Humboldt and Mendocino counties.
To help respond to these storms, more than 1,500 PG&E employees and contractor workers have been working around the clock to restore power for customers. This includes 229 multi-person restoration crews, 235 troublemen, who are the utility’s first responders, and 293 vegetation management workers. In addition, hundreds more PG&E employees staffed emergency centers and performed other jobs related to storm response.
Upcoming Weather Next Week
As PG&E continues to assess damage, make repairs and safely restore service to remaining customers, crews are prepared to respond to a third weather system expected to begin on Sunday. This next storm is expected to bring the far North and North Coast additional mountain snow and valley rain and will stall Sunday before slowly progressing east across the state Monday into portions of Wednesday.
Keeping Customers Informed
PG&E knows the importance of keeping its customers informed. Customers can view real-time outage information on its website outage center and search by a specific address, by city or by county. This site has been updated to include in-language support for 16 languages.
Additionally, customers can sign up for outage notifications by text, email or phone. PG&E will inform customers about the cause of an outage, when crews are on their way, the estimated restoration time, and when power is restored.
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 9-1-1 and by calling PG&E at 1-800-743-5002.
- Gas and electric safety if flooding occurs. If a customer’s home or business is threatened by rising waters, turn off all gas appliances, or close gas appliance valves with a one-quarter turn. If you are unable to shut gas appliances off, turn your gas service off at the meter by using a wrench or other suitable tool to give the valve a one-quarter turn, in either direction, until it is perpendicular to the pipe. To shut off electricity, locate the main switch at the electric panel and turn the switch off. Never touch electrical equipment with wet hands or while standing in water. Once floodwaters recede, PG&E will restore gas and electric service to the community. When returning to their homes, customers should not attempt to turn on their gas or electricity. They should contact PG&E at 1-800-743-5000 to request that their services be restored.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 a combined natural gas and electric utility serving more than 16 million people across 70,000 square miles in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit pge.com and pge.com/news.