PG&E prepares for powerful storm; what residents can do

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) meteorologists are forecasting a potent storm system impacting Northern and Central California over the weekend, which will include heavy rains and gusty winds. PG&E is poised to respond to potential power outages and urges customers to be prepared as well.
A series of weather systems is expected to move through PG&E’s service area leading into the weekend, with the strongest system hitting early Saturday and lasting through the night. This New Year’s Eve storm will deliver strong, gusty winds, moderate to heavy rain and a chance for isolated thunderstorms. Peak wind risk is expected early Saturday morning across the central and southern parts of PG&E’s service area, with gusts in the 35-45 MPH range and isolated gusts up to 55 MPH.
PG&E is prepared to respond to any issues caused by the adverse weather which could result in trees, limbs and other debris falling into powerlines, damaging equipment, and interrupting electric service. In advance of the storm, PG&E vegetation management crews are working to keep trees away from powerlines during the forecasted wet and windy weather to reduce the risk of outages.
PG&E has been preparing for this storm. The company is using its storm outage prediction models that help determine the potential timing, location, and number of power outages. This allows the company to have extra crews on standby to deploy to areas that are hard hit by the storm. PG&E is also prestaging power poles, powerlines, transformers, and other electric equipment at yards throughout our service territory in preparation to restore power to affected areas safely and as quickly as possible.
“Since the beginning of December, there have been several storm systems that have impacted PG&E’s service area and each time we have been ready. We encourage customers to prepare for the storm now – have an emergency plan in case you lose power and update your contact information on PG&E’s website so we can provide you with real-time updates on outages in your neighborhood,” said Angie Gibson, vice president, PG&E Emergency Preparedness & Response
Keeping Customers Informed
Customers can view real-time outage information at PG&E’s online outage center and search by a specific address, by city or by county. This site has been updated to include support in 16 languages.
Additionally, customers can sign up for outage notifications by text, email, or phone. PG&E will let customers know the cause of an outage, when crews are on their way, the estimated restoration time and when power has been 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 then PG&E at 1-800-743-5002.
  • Use generators safely: Customers with standby electric generators should ensure 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 powerlines. 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 and ice: Freeze plastic containers filled with water to make blocks of ice that can be placed in your refrigerator/freezer to prevent food spoilage.
  • 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.
  • 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 at least two full business days before digging to have all underground utilities safely marked.