By David Kligman
UPDATE: On Tuesday morning (Oct. 10), PG&E crews were permitted to begin assessing damage to the electric and gas system in the areas affected by Sunday’s overnight wildfires, which continue to burn in several locations throughout the North Bay. Crews are working closely with first responders to ensure areas are safe to access before conducting equipment and facility assessments.
PG&E’s response to the wind-driven wildfires in the North Bay will continue until all customers who can be restored have their power and gas service back.
PG&E activated multiple emergency operations centers, established base camps in Napa and Sonoma counties and positioned crews to assess and restore service. The response was to as many as 20 North Bay fires that started overnight Sunday.
There also are fires burning in other Northern California areas, including Butte, Nevada and Yuba counties.
Authorities have reported scores of destroyed and damaged homes and business, forcing evacuations and closed roads.
As of Tuesday morning, about 91,000 PG&E customers in Napa and Sonoma counties were without electric service due to the fires. About 32,000 gas customers were without service. In some cases, electric and gas service was pro-actively de-energized to support fire response efforts.
PG&E meteorologists reported overnight gusts between 50 and 75 mph, which aided the fires in the Northern parts of the energy company’s service area, especially Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake counties. Those winds damaged PG&E’s electrical system in some locations.
“We have mobilized crews so we can be ready to safely bring power and gas service back to our communities,” said Nick Stavropoulos, PG&E president and chief operating officer. “Until then, we are working closely with Cal Fire and first responders, as well as the Red Cross and the communities we serve, to make sure safety is front and center during what could be an extended restoration effort.”
PG&E was to begin assessing damage once first responders, including Cal Fire, have given the go-ahead for safe access and permission. Additional crews from other parts of the company’s service area were traveling to support the response.
PG&E reminds everyone to treat all downed power lines as if they are energized and extremely dangerous. If you see a downed power line, keep yourself and others well away from them and immediately call 911, then notify PG&E’s 24-hour emergency and customer service line at 1-800-743-5002.
Email David Kligman at David.Kligman@pge.com.