PG&E Commitment: Latest Updates on Wildfire Response and Recovery Effort

Posted on October 14, 2017

PG&E Continues to Make Electric, Gas Restoration Progress in Communities Impacted by Wildfires

In response to the unprecedented wind-driven wildfires occurring in Northern California, more than 3,000 PG&E employees and mutual-aid partners are working hard to restore electric and gas service to customers. As restoration efforts continue around the clock, PG&E is maintaining an absolute focus on customer and public safety and supporting firefighting efforts on these intense wind-fueled wildfires.

“Many of our friends, neighbors, family members and colleagues have been deeply impacted by these wildfires,” said Nick Stavropoulos, president and Chief Operating Officer of PG&E.

More than 3,000 PG&E employees and mutual-aid partners are working hard to restore electric and gas service to customers.

“The pain and heartache that they are experiencing is profound, and we share in their grief,” he added. “All of us at PG&E stand right beside them as they face this challenge. We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to the thousands of firefighters and first responders who are working around the clock to contain and extinguish the wildfires. Their efforts have been remarkable and nothing short of heroic.”

Electric progress

Since Monday, Oct. 9, PG&E has restored power to more than 93 percent of homes and businesses that have lost power during the wildfires. Crews made good progress on Friday with electric restoration. However, due to fires in and around Sonoma, an additional 4,000 customers lost service overnight. Currently, there are 26,000 electric customers without power in the fire-effected areas, down from 29,000 on Friday morning.

Gas progress

Since Monday, Oct. 9, to protect customer and public safety, PG&E has proactively turned off gas service to about 42,000 customers in the affected areas of Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties. During Friday and overnight, PG&E restored gas service to approximately 4,100 customers. That brings a total of gas customers restored since the beginning of the event to roughly 13,000. Nearly 900 crew members are working in support of restoration efforts and pilot relights in areas where it’s safe to do so. Currently, there are 29,000 gas customers without service.

Support

The company continues to dispatch workers, supplies and equipment from its base camps in Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake counties. Crews from other utilities are also temporarily augmenting PG&E’s workforce as part of a mutual-aid agreement.

Electric restoration process

  • Once crews have been given permission to enter an area by Cal Fire, PG&E crews begin the electric assess, repair and restoration process.
  • Once safe, the first step is damage assessment. Typically, this occurs within 12 to 24 hours.
  • PG&E workers will be on-site to make the area safe by isolating electrical hazards. The next steps are equipment repairs and coordinated restoration.
  • Based on needed repairs and time to compete work, an estimated time for restoration is established and communicated to customers.
  • Prior to safely re-energizing homes and businesses, PG&E will inspect adjacent facilities and ensure locations are safe to receive power.
  • Where safe to do so and access is allowed, restoring service will typically take 48-72 hours depending on the extent of damage and complexity of the work.
  • Repopulation decisions to areas or neighborhoods are made by local law enforcement.

Gas restoration process

  • Once crews have been given permission to enter an area by Cal Fire, PG&E crews begin the gas restoration process.
  • Once PG&E gains access to homes and businesses, gas crews check the meter.  Then, PG&E works to identify structures that are safe to restore service and those that have sustained too much damage to safely restore service. Assessments begin immediately and typically occur within 24 hours of gaining access.
  • Because customers’ gas service was turned off, the pipeline system must be purged to remove any air and ensure that natural gas is safely delivered to every structure.
  • Next, the system must be resupplied with gas and tested to make sure it is safe.
  • PG&E gas workers visit every home or business where gas may be safely restored to turn the meter on, purge the pipe within the structure, check for leaks and ensure every pilot is relit for safe operation.
  • Repopulation decisions to areas or neighborhoods are made by local law enforcement.

Email Currents at Currents@pge.com

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