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

Posted on October 15, 2017

In Aftermath of Wildfires, Nearly All Electric Customers to Be Restored by Late Monday with Continued Progress for Gas Outages

More than 3,000 PG&E employees and mutual-aid partners continued to make progress today restoring electric and gas service to customers in the aftermath of the unprecedented wind-driven wildfires.

PG&E anticipates restoring service to essentially all electric customers who are able to receive it, and once approval to energize is granted, by late Monday.

By Monday morning, PG&E expects to have completed the work necessary to ensure the safety of gas pipelines so that it can begin restoring service to the remaining 17,000 customers who do not presently have gas service, but are in a position to accept gas service. This process involves working with the individual customers to relight their pilot lights. Restoration begins once infrastructure is repaired, and areas have been deemed safe by relevant authorities.

“PG&E applauds and thanks all the firefighters and first responders who continue to bravely battle these wildfires. And we have the deepest respect for the thousands of volunteers who are helping their neighbors get through this difficult time. In times of crisis, the strength of community shines brightly,” said Nick Stavropoulos, PG&E president and chief operating officer. “Rest assured that the men and women of PG&E will be right beside our customers and our communities throughout this process.”

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.

Electric Progress

Since Monday, Oct. 9, PG&E has restored power to more than 92 percent of homes and businesses that have lost power during the wildfires. Currently, there are about 21,300 electric customers without power in the fire-impacted areas, down from 29,000 on Friday morning.

Gas Progress

Since Monday, Oct. 9, to protect customer and public safety, PG&E proactively turned off gas service to about 42,000 customers in the affected areas of Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties. Nearly 900 workers, from PG&E and from other energy companies, have been working to relight pilot lights in areas where it’s safe to do so. Over the past several days, we have restored gas service to about approximately 21,000 customers.

Restoring gas service is a complex process, but progress is being made. Several factors are in play including PG&E’s access to fire zones, authorization from the proper authorities to restore gas, and the timing of when customers are allowed to return to their homes.

Support

The company continues to dispatch workers, supplies and equipment from its base camps in Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake Counties. Crews from five states are bolstering 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 CalFIRE, 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 safety to receive power.
  • Where safe to do so and access is allowed, restoring service will typically take 24-48 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 CalFIRE, 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 gas service was turned off to customers, any air present in the pipeline system is purged to ensure that natural gas is safely delivered to every structure.
  • Next, the system must be resupplied with gas and pressure tested to make sure it is safe.
  • PG&E gas workers visits 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.

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