The following is a press release issued by Pacific Gas and Electric:
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) continues responding to the intense series of winter storms impacting Northern and Central California and has mobilized its largest storm response effort in company history.
This effort has enabled the restoration of more than 1.6 million customers who lost power since the initial storm in the series began on New Year’s weekend, with about 90% of customers restored in 24 hours. As of today at noon, just over 80,000 customers are without power amid this historic storm system.
“PG&E teams got prepared and in position before the first storm rolled in on New Year’s Eve weekend to lessen the impact of these storms. As we make assessments, we will restore power as quickly as safety allows. Challenging conditions could delay our efforts and extend our customers’ outages, but we won’t rest until our last customer is safely restored,” said Adam Wright, PG&E’s Executive Vice President of Operations and Chief Operating Officer.
During storms of this magnitude, PG&E concurrently begins assessments and restoration as soon as it is safe to do so. If restoration is not possible quickly, PG&E will provide an estimated time of restoration (ETOR) within 24 hours for customers who will have extended outages.
PG&E has more than 5,000 dedicated personnel currently responding to the storm, including contractors and mutual aid from Southern California, Canada, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming, with additional resources expected to arrive and assist in the coming days. Hundreds of PG&E employees are serving in the company’s Emergency Operations Center as well as in regional and divisional emergency centers.
Winter Storm Series Continues
The latest atmospheric river event impacting PG&E’s service area began overnight on Saturday, Jan. 7, with conditions intensifying again on Sunday, Jan 8. The storm delivered another round of strong winds, heavy rain, snow, and thunderstorms that is expected to continue through Tuesday. Additional adverse weather is expected late this week through next weekend.
To support customers experiencing extended outages due to the challenging conditions caused by the weather systems, PG&E has provided:
- Nearly 3,500 go bags with water, snacks, a battery pack for charging devices and blankets at warming centers in El Dorado, Humboldt, San Mateo, Sonoma and Yolo counties. [how can people know where these centers are located?]
- Twenty megawatts of temporary generation currently operating and serving about 6,300 customers. This is out of a total of 60 megawatts of temporary generation PG&E deployed throughout the system to prepare for this storm system.
PG&E is coordinating with its community-based partners to offer support to customers in need. PG&E partners with the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers to offer support for older adults and people with disabilities through the Disability Disaster Access and Resources Program. As well, as the California Network of 2-1-1 who can connect customers to resources in their local communities.
Keeping Customers Informed
Customers can view real-time outage information at PG&E’s online outage center and search by a specific address, by city or by county. This site has been updated to include support in 16 languages.
Additionally, customers can sign up for outage notifications by text, email, or phone. PG&E will let customers know the cause of an outage, when crews are on their way, the estimated restoration time and when power has been 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 then PG&E at 1-800-743-5002.
- Use generators safely: Customers with standby electric generators should ensure 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 powerlines. 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 and ice: Freeze plastic containers filled with water to make blocks of ice that can be placed in your refrigerator/freezer to prevent food spoilage.
- 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.
- 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: Safety and Preparedness, Storm Safety, and Safety Action Center.