By Kelly Clonan
PG&E crews on Tuesday (Nov. 8) responded to local power outages from a storm system forecasted to last until Wednesday morning. Since Monday morning, PG&E had restored more than 60,000 customers who lost power, with 96 percent restored in six hours or less.
This cold, low-pressure weather system entered the service area Sunday evening, resulting in scattered showers, isolated thunderstorms, heavy mountain snow and breezy winds. Shower activity is expected to linger through Wednesday with additional snow accumulation along the Sierra before drier conditions return Wednesday evening.
PG&E executing its response plan
In anticipation of widespread storm conditions, PG&E activated its Emergency Operations Center on Sunday and positioned personnel and equipment to respond to potential weather-related outages safely and as quickly as possible.
PG&E had more than 250 power restoration ground crews, including hundreds of troublemen, the first responders for customers who lose power. The company also stored a large number of power poles, power lines, transformers and other electric equipment at yards throughout its service territory to help crews restore power as quickly as possible.
Keeping customers informed
PG&E knows how important it is for customers to have the latest outage and restoration information. Customers can view real-time outage information on its website outage center and search by a specific address, by city or by county. This site has been updated to include in-language support for 16 languages.
PG&E recommends that customers stay informed by signing up for outage notifications by text, email or phone. PG&E will notify customers about the cause of an outage, when crews are on their way, the estimated restoration time and when power is restored.
Storm safety tips
- Never touch downed wires: If you see a downed power line, assume it is energized and extremely dangerous. Do not touch or try to move it — and keep children and animals away. Report downed power lines immediately by calling 911 and by calling PG&E at 1-800-743-5002.
- Use flashlights, not candles: During a power outage, use battery-operated flashlights, and not candles, due to the risk of fire. If you must use candles, please keep them away from drapes, lampshades and small children. Do not leave candles unattended.
- Have a backup phone: If you have a telephone system that requires electricity to work, such as a cordless phone or answering machine, plan to have a standard telephone or cellular phone ready as a backup.
- Have fresh drinking water, ice: Freeze plastic containers filled with water to make blocks of ice that can be placed in your refrigerator/freezer during an outage to prevent foods from spoiling. Blue Ice from your picnic cooler also works well in the freezer.
- Use generators safely: Customers with standby electric generators should make sure they are properly installed by a licensed electrician in a well-ventilated area. Improperly installed generators pose a significant danger to customers, as well as crews working on power lines. If using portable generators, be sure they are in a well-ventilated area.
- Turn off appliances: If you experience an outage, unplug or turn off all electrical appliances to avoid overloading circuits and to prevent fire hazards when power is restored. Simply leave a single lamp on to alert you when power returns. Turn your appliances back on one at a time when conditions return to normal.
- Safely clean up: After the inclement weather has passed, be sure to safely clean up. Never touch downed wires and always call 811 or visit 811express.com at least two full business days before digging to have all underground utilities safely marked.
(Pictured: Crews work Tuesday morning on Highway 80 in Kingvale in the Sierra Nevada where 11 inches of snow fell in 24 hours.)
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