Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has restored power to approximately 97 percent of customers who can be restored and who were affected by the Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) event beginning late Monday night, Sept. 7. Most Plumas County residents have been restored; those who haven’t are expected to have their power turned back on by noon today.
Since daybreak, PG&E restored nearly 150,000 customers in 22 counties. Counties that are now fully restored include: Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Kern, Lake, Lassen, Mariposa, Nevada, Placer, Siskiyou, Sonoma, Tehama and Tuolumne.
Wildfire and Access Issues in Some Counties
For a group of customers mainly in the Northern Sierra, PG&E has not been able to restore electric service for three principal reasons: ongoing threats from wildfires, impacts from smoke impeding patrols, and requests from first responders to keep power lines off to assist in firefighting efforts. The company will resume patrols, repairs and re-energization on these lines in these areas as soon as first responders grant the company access and it is safe to do so.
Remaining Customers to Be Restored Thursday by Noon
Approximately 5,000 customers who can receive service, but in areas where PG&E has not been able to perform patrols and inspections yet, are expected to remain out tonight in the following counties: Butte, Humboldt, Napa, Plumas, Sierra, Trinity and Yuba. Customers who are still without power tonight are expected to be restored by noon Thursday, if PG&E is able to patrol the remaining areas by helicopter.
Weather All Clears
Once the severe weather subsided and the weather “all clear” was given to all 22 counties, PG&E began the patrol and restoration process. In weather “all clear” areas, PG&E crews began patrols on the ground early this morning to start inspecting more than 10,750 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, 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, the damages will be repaired before customers will be restored.
Damage and Hazards Identified
Preliminary data showed 27 instances of weather-related damage and hazards in the PSPS-affected areas. Examples included downed lines and vegetation on power lines. If PG&E had not de-energized power lines, these types of damage could have caused potential wildfire ignitions.
More Information on PG&E PSPS Events
PG&E’s goal is to have essentially all customers affected by the PSPS who can receive power to be restored within 12 daylight hours of the weather “all clear” for each affected area.
PG&E uses a PSPS only as the last resort to protect community and customer safety against wildfires, given dry and windy weather, dry vegetation and an elevated fire risk across portions of its service area. Wind gusts as high as 66 mph were recorded during the PSPS event.
After severe weather has passed, PG&E inspects the electric system for wind and debris-caused damage to make sure it is safe to turn the power back on. The process PG&E follows includes:
- Inspect – PG&E crews work to visually inspect for potential weather-related damage to the lines, poles and towers. This is done by foot, vehicle and air.
- Repair – Where equipment damage is found, PG&E crews work to isolate the damaged area from the rest of the system so other parts of the system can be restored.
- Restore – Once the poles, towers and lines are safe to energize, PG&E’s Control Center can complete the process and restore power to affected areas.
- Notify Customers – Customers are notified that power has been restored.
For more information on the PSPS event, visit https://pgealerts.alerts.pge.com/updates/.