Power was restored last night for 97 percent of Plumas County residents — the remaining customers to be restored are in the Bucks Lake area.
PG&E implemented a Public Safety Power Shutoff affecting 172,000 customers in 22 counties to help prevent the start of more wildfires during the widespread Red Flag Warning that went into effect Monday.
And the action may have prevented fires. After inspecting transmission lines, preliminary data shows 52 instances of weather-related damage and hazards in the power shutoff areas. Examples included downed lines and vegetation on power lines. If the lines had not de-energize, the damage could have caused wildfire ignitions. There was one such instance in Plumas County — a broken crossarm caused by a tree limb breaking.
Once the severe weather subsided and the weather “all clear” was given, PG&E crews began patrols on the ground early yesterday morning to inspect more than 9,880 miles of transmission and distribution power lines for damage or hazards.
Initially, PG&E paused some air inspections due to unsafe flying conditions caused by smoky and hazy skies, but by noon Wednesday, about half of PG&E’s aircrafts were flying. PG&E crews began restoring customers in areas where they found no damage or hazards to electrical equipment. In areas where equipment was damaged by the severe wind event, crews worked safely and as quickly as possible to make the repairs and restore those customers.
Smoky and hazy skies again delayed or paused some PG&E air patrols today. Ground patrols faced challenging terrain in some areas where air patrols were grounded due to smoke. Once weather conditions improved, and first responders allowed access to previously restricted areas, PG&E was able to begin patrols, make repairs where necessary and safely restore power to those remaining customers.
A small group of 6,800 customers in Butte, Humboldt, Plumas, Trinity and Yuba counties are unable to receive power at this time due to two factors: ongoing threats from wildfires and requests from first responders to keep power lines de-energized for assisting firefighting efforts and to keep firefighters safe. Power restoration may also be delayed for the 700 customers served by electric equipment that was damaged during the offshore wind event. PG&E will restore power to these customers as soon as it is safe to do so.