Powerful Storm Moves through Northern and Central California Bringing Rain, Wind and Snow; PG&E Responding to Local Power Outages
PG&E Has Pre-Positioned Nearly 400 Crews to Restore Power Safely and as Quickly as Possible
Vegetation Crews Have Been Working Ahead of Storms to Keep Trees and Limbs Away from Powerlines During the Storm
SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) crews are responding to local outages from a powerful storm now moving through Northern and Central California.
PG&E has nearly 400 power restoration crews pre-staged, including 278 troublemen, who are the energy company’s first responders to an outage. The company has also stockpiled power poles, power lines, transformers, and other electric equipment at yards throughout its service territory to help crews restore power as quickly as possible.
PG&E has activated its Emergency Operations Center and 17 regional and local operations emergency centers to assign staff and resources to the restoration efforts as necessary. In advance of the storm, vegetation-management crews have been working to keep trees and limbs away from powerlines.
Since midnight Sunday, crews have restored power to nearly 16,000 customers. As of 1 p.m. today, about 30,000 customers were experiencing storm-related outages.
PG&E meteorologists, along with experts from the National Weather Service, are predicting gusty winds, widespread rain, heavy mountain snow and isolated thunderstorms will continue across the company’s service region through much of the week.
Weather stations reported heavy rainfall and strong winds, with gusts as high as 77 mph in Livermore in Alameda County, and rain accumulation of nearly 10 inches over 48 hours at Middle Peak Mt. Tam in Marin County.
High winds are expected along the Central Coast and Central Valley through early Tuesday with gusts up to 50 mph in some areas. Snow levels in the Sierra Nevada will also be significant above 5,000 feet, with the potential for multiple feet of snow, particularly across the northern end of the range.
PG&E’s meteorology team uses a Storm Outage Prediction Model that incorporates real-time weather forecasts, coupled with 30 years of historical storm data and system knowledge to show where and when storm impacts will be most severe. This model enables the company to pre-stage crews and equipment as storms approach to enable rapid response to outages.
Keeping Customers Informed
PG&E knows how important it is to keep its customers informed. 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.
Additionally, customers can sign up for outage notifications by text, email or phone. PG&E will inform 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 9-1-1 and by calling PG&E at 1-800-743-5002.
- 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.
- Use flashlights, not candles: During a power outage, use battery-operated flashlights, and not candles, due to the risk of fire. And keep extra batteries on hand. If you must use candles, please keep them away from drapes, lampshades, animals, 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. Having a portable charging device helps to keep your cell phone running.
- 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.
- Secure outdoor furniture: Deck furniture, lightweight yard structures and decorative lawn items should be secured as they can be blown by high winds and damage overhead power lines and property.
- 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 storm has passed, be sure to safely clean up. Never touch downed wires and always call 8-1-1 or visit 811express.com at least two full business days before digging to have all underground utilities safely marked.
Other tips can be found at www.pge.com/beprepared.
PG&E, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is a combined natural gas and electric utility serving more than 16 million people across 70,000 square miles in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit pge.com and pge.com/news.