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Pacific Gas and Electric Company Ready for Strong Wind Storm this Week, Offers Safety Tips for Customers Crews work year-round to minimize storm-related outages

Release Date: November 29, 2011
Contact: PG&E External Communications (415) 973-5930

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — A strong wind storm is forecast to hit Northern and Central California, kicking up on Wednesday, Nov. 30, and lasting into Friday, Dec. 2. The winds, expected to be 35 to 45 miles per hour (mph) with gusts up to 60 mph, could result in falling trees taking down power lines and poles and interrupting electric service throughout the region.

To prepare for such storms and minimize outages, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has an extensive preventive maintenance and tree trimming program. Each year, the utility inspects every mile of line in its service area—more than 130,000 miles total—and spends more than $180 million to reduce the hazards from trees and bushes.

When outages do occur, PG&E employees remain focused on ensuring public safety, determining the extent of the damage, providing customers with all available information, and restoring service as quickly as possible.

During outages, PG&E communicates with customers regularly and through many channels about when power is expected to be restored. Customers can get information by calling PG&E's automated outage line at 1-800-PGE-5002 or by accessing the following online resources: a live outage map and storm guide at http://www.pge.com/stormoutages; PG&E's Twitter feed at http://www.twitter.com/pge4me; and PG&E's Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pacificgasandelectric.

PG&E offers these suggestions to help customers get ready for the oncoming storm:

  • If you see a downed power line, assume it is "live" or carrying electric current. 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-PGE-5000.
  • Before calling PG&E about an outage, customers should ensure their outage is storm-related by checking their circuit breakers and/or fuse boxes to see whether the problem is limited to the electric system in their home or office, and/or by checking with neighbors to see whether other people are affected.
  • Do not use candles because of the risk of fire. If you must use candles, use extreme caution. Do not use candles near drapes, under lampshades or near holiday trees. Keep candles away from small children and do not leave candles unattended.
  • If your power goes out, turn off or unplug all electric appliances; otherwise, several appliances may come back on at once and overload your circuits when power is restored. Hot appliances also pose a fire hazard if they come back on while you're away or asleep. 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.
  • Have battery-operated radios with fresh batteries ready for updates on storm conditions and power outages.
  • Have battery-operated flashlights with fresh batteries on hand.
  • Have a cell phone or hard-wire, single-line telephone on hand. Cordless phones will not work without electricity.
  • Fill used liter-size plastic soda bottles with water and place them in the freezer. During an extended outage, transfer them to your refrigerator to prevent food from spoiling. Open the refrigerator only when necessary to keep warm air out and cooler air in.
  • If you have a generator, inform PG&E and do not use it unless it is installed safely and properly. If it is not, you risk damaging your property and endangering yourself and PG&E line workers who may be working on nearby power lines. Information on the safe installation of generators can be found on our website at http://www.pge.com/generator.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation's cleanest energy to 15 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit http://www.pge.com/about/newsroom/.

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