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PG&E Restores Power to 90 Percent of Customers Impacted by Strong Wind Storm Utility's crews working around the clock in areas still without electricity

Release Date: December 2, 2011
Contact: PG&E External Communications (415) 973-5930

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – The winds that whipped through Northern and Central California have quieted, at least for today, and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) crews are working as quickly and safely as possible to restore service to the few remaining areas without power.

Since Wednesday, November 30, wind speeds of 35 to 45 miles per hour with gusts up to 70 mph resulted in falling limbs and trees knocking down power lines and poles, interrupting electricity to many customers throughout PG&E's service territory. Utility crews have restored power to nearly 90 percent of the approximately 500,000 PG&E customers whose service was impacted by the storm.

Brisk breezes are forecast to pick up again late tonight in the Sacramento Valley and Bay Area and persist into the afternoon on Saturday, December 3. Although wind speeds are likely to remain in the range of 25 to 35 mph, well below the conditions of the past few days, a moderate amount of outages can be expected.

With diminished winds today, crews have been able to reach some of the hardest hit areas. As of 1:00 p.m. today, about 51,000 PG&E customers were still without power, mostly in Santa Cruz and from Fresno to North Chico. PG&E mobilized additional crews to help with restoration in these areas. The company's new Mobile Command Vehicles are in use in Santa Cruz and Sonora, to facilitate communications between response crews, command staff and government agencies. The 24-foot vans are equipped with workstations, mapping tools, a flat-screen TV monitor, and radio and satellite communications.

Because brush and trees have dried out during the prolonged winds, the fire risk has been elevated from low to moderate in the North and East Bay hills, Santa Cruz Mountains, and northern Sierra Nevada. PG&E is working closely with local fire departments and Offices of Emergency Services to help ensure safety as our crews continue restoration efforts in these dry and windy conditions.

For updates or to report an outage, customers can call PG&E's automated line at 1-800-PGE-5002. If a customer's power has been out longer than 48 hours, PG&E has an extended-outages hotline, at 1-888-PGE-4743. The following resources are also available online: 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 safety tips for customers in areas without power:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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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