By Deanna Contreras
POTTER VALLEY — PG&E President and Chief Operating Officer Nick Stavropoulos announced the company will donate $25,000 to the Potter Valley Volunteer Fire Department, citing the firefighters’ recent actions during the disastrous northern California wildfires.
During the evening of Tuesday, Oct. 10, fire had closed to within 1,000 feet of PG&E’s Potter Valley powerhouse, and 20 feet from the project’s redwood penstock, not only threatening the PG&E Power Generation facilities, but also their key water conveyances serving Potter Valley and other downstream communities.
Fire Chief Bill Pauli and his crews ordered the evacuation of the powerhouse, then performed a successful back-burn, preventing damage to the facilities.
“Chief Pauli and his volunteers are among the many heroes in what has been one of California’s worst disasters,” Stavropoulos said during a private ceremony on Monday (Oct. 23).
“PG&E’s commitment is to assist everywhere we can in order to help our communities restore and rebuild,” he added. “We are very grateful to the Potter Valley Volunteer Fire Department and we are privileged to be able to support them with this $25,000 donation.”
The announced contribution is part of the $3 million PG&E Corporation has pledged to a diverse set of community groups and nonprofits to help people restore their lives after the wildfires.
The fire chief said he was surprised to receive PG&E’s pledge, calling it a generous gift. He said the money would be put to good use.
“It’s a lot of money to our department,” he said. “It’s half the budget for a year because we don’t operate on salaries. The significance of that is monumental as we continue to improve our equipment and training. The training is what’s really important to us.”
PG&E’s Stavropoulos also met with company employees at the Potter Valley powerhouse, recognizing them and thanking them for working hand-in-hand with fire officials to protect the powerhouse and penstocks until being asked to evacuate.
PG&E has created a new website (www.pgecommitment.com) for customers in wildfire-affected areas to follow the company’s restoration and recovery efforts.
Mark Mesesan contributed to this story. Email Currents at Currents@pge.com.