By Brandi Merlo
STOCKTON — When a levee breach near Manteca forced mandatory evacuations, PG&E jumped into action to provide support to local first responders and help ensure the safety of its customers and the community.
On President’s Day, PG&E was notified by San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services (OES) about an emerging issue with a leaking levee in Manteca. Nearly 500 people evacuated their homes in mainly ranch and farmlands.
PG&E has been working closely with the San Joaquin County OES since the beginning of the emergency response and will continue to support until the situation is resolved.
“We are part of the community and here to help first responders and our customers in whatever way we can with safety at the top of our priorities,” said Dave Meier, senior manager for PG&E’s Stockton Division. “We have people helping at the OES command center, crews out in the field and operators monitoring the situation remotely. Utilizing technology built into the local electric distribution system, we are able to quickly shut off electricity remotely should the need arise in the best interest of safety.”
At the request of San Joaquin OES, PG&E employees delivered emergency barricades Monday for road closures in the area. PG&E also set up an Incident Command post nearby and made crews available to support as conditions changed.
If the evacuated area became flooded, PG&E electric and gas operations created plans to turn off services in the area to protect the safety of the community and first responders. Disruption of energy service would only take place as a last resort in the event of an imminent danger to health and safety.
Although the levee breach has been stabilized, the leak temporarily stopped and evacuation orders have been lifted, the Department of Water Resources and the Army Corps of Engineers continue to conduct levee maintenance in the area.
On Wednesday, crews delivered additional barricades for road closures to support the efforts of first responders. On Thursday, PG&E delivered 100 animal crates to the fairgrounds in Stockton after OES identified a need to shelter small animals for evacuees. The only ones they could find were located in Chico, but OES had no way of getting them to the county.
“PG&E has been a great partner during this high water event responding to various requests,” said John Austin, senior emergency planner with San Joaquin County OES. “The military has a motto I still like to use: One Team, One Fight. We in San Joaquin County are proud to have PG&E on our team.”
Email Currents at Currents@pge.com.