Posted on November 27, 2012

Customers Told to Prepare for Wet, Windy Storms

PG&E warned customers to be prepared for power outages and to avoid downed power lines in anticipation of gusty winds and heavy rain, the first in a series of pre-winter storms expected to drench much of California beginning Wednesday (Nov. 28).

A PG&E crew removes the remains of a broken pole in Felton following a storm in January 2008.

Weather forecasts call for the wet and windy weather, including a chance of thunderstorms, throughout most of PG&E’s service area by Wednesday morning. Up to several inches of rain are expected with wind gusts as high as 70 mph along Bay Area coasts.

Beginning Thursday, the focus of the wet weather moves to the northern half of PG&E’s territory with heavy rain expected in the North Bay, coastal mountains north of Salinas and in the Sierra Nevada. On Sunday, the final storm is forecast to move north to south with more rain and wind. Localized flooding is possible by the weekend.

This week’s storms will bring heavy winds. In 2008, hurricane-force winds blew over distribution poles across a 100-mile stretch from Redding to Williams.

To prepare for storms and minimize outages, PG&E has an extensive preventive maintenance and tree trimming program. Each year, the utility inspects every mile of line in its service area—more than 130,000 miles total—and spends more than $180 million to reduce the hazards of trees and bushes.

When outages do occur, PG&E employees remain focused on ensuring public safety, determining the extent of the damage, providing customers with all available information and restoring service as quickly as possible.

PG&E offers the following suggestions to help customers prepare for the upcoming storms:

Preparing for power outages

  • Have battery-operated flashlights and radios with fresh batteries ready. Listen for updates on storm conditions and power outages.
  • If you have a telephone system that requires electricity to work (such as a cordless phone or answering machine), plan for alternate communication. Have a standard telephone handset, cellular telephone or pager ready as a backup.
  • Freeze plastic containers filled with water to make blocks of ice that can be placed in your refrigerator and freezer during an outage to prevent foods from spoiling.

Safety tips

  • Treat all downed power lines as if they are “live” or energized. Keep yourself and others away from them. Call 911, then notify PG&E at 1-800-743-5002.
  • Use battery-operated flashlights, not candles.
  • Customers with generator should make sure they are properly installed by a licensed electrician. Improperly installed generators pose a significant danger to our crews.
  • Unplug or turn off all electric appliances to avoid overloading circuits and 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.

 Report a power outage: 1-800-743-5002

  • Before calling PG&E about a power outage, check to see if other neighbors are affected. This would confirm if an outage has occurred in just your residence or within the neighborhood area.
  • If only your residence is without power, check circuit breakers and/or fuse boxes to see if the problem is limited to the home electric system.
  • After performing the steps above, single or neighborhood outages can be reported to: PG&E’s 24-Hour Emergency and Customer Service Line: 1-800-743-5002.
  • Once your outage has been reported, you can call PG&E’s Outage Information Line at 1-800-743-5002 to get a status report on your outage and the anticipated time your power will be turned back on.
  • Or visit PG&E’s outage page to see maps of outages and to report an outage. Customers also can log into their My Energy page to see a status of services and individual outages.

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