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Pacific Gas and Electric Company Restores Power to Thousands More Customers Despite New Storms More than 700 Utility Crews Continue Working Around the Clock to Restore Service

Release Date: January 8, 2008
Contact: PG&E External Communications (415) 973-5930

SAN FRANCISCO – As a new set of winter storms sweep through Northern California, more than 700 utility crews continue to work around the clock to restore service to Pacific Gas and Electric Company customers and repair damage to electrical equipment. Since the first storm slammed into the state with gale-force winds on Friday morning, crews have restored service to more than 2.3 million, or 98 percent, of the 2.4 million electric customers who have lost power.

As of 4 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, about 44,000 PG&E customers were without power, mostly in the North Coast and Sierra Nevada regions, where several storm-ravaged counties declared states of emergency. About 3,800 of the utility’s customers without service are in the greater Bay Area, mainly in Marin County. Some 24,000 customers throughout Northern and Central California have been without power for more than 72 hours, primarily in remote locations with difficult access.

PG&E has mobilized more than 100 contract crews from as far as Kansas and two dozen mutual-aid crews to help its own crews restore service as fast and safely as possible. However, new storms may cause additional outages or delay some service restorations.

PG&E continues to give priority to critical facilities such as hospitals and schools, and to customers who have been without power the longest.

“We’re proud that our crews restored service in less than 48 hours to 95 percent of customers who lost power, despite the severity of the storms,” said Mark Johnson, vice president for electrical operations and engineering. “It’s a tribute to their skill, long hours of hard work, and the pre-storm preparations of many support teams. Above all, it reflects our commitment to serving customers, in bad times as well as good.”

Below are tips for customers weathering the current winter storm:

  • Treat any downed power line as if 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 and other electric emergencies immediately by calling 911 and PG&E’s customer service line at 1-800-PGE-5002.
  • If you have a standby generator, make sure that it's installed safely and inform PG&E to avoid risking damage to your property and endangering PG&E line workers who may be working on nearby power lines.
  • Never use barbeques or charcoal indoors to heat your home in order to avoid the risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • If your power goes out, turn off or even unplug all electric appliances. Otherwise, when power is restored, several appliances may come back on at once and overload your circuits or hot appliances may come on and pose a fire hazard. Leave on a single lamp to alert you when power returns. Turn your appliances back on one at a time when conditions return to normal.
  • Customers should report power outages to PG&E by calling our outage information line at 1-800-PGE-5002. Customers can also call this number to receive updated information about an existing power outage in their area.
  • Customers in the most severely affected or remote areas should make arrangements to find a safe, warm place to stay. The Red Cross has opened shelters and warming centers in Butte, Nevada, and Yolo Counties. Customers should call 1-800-RED-CROSS for more information.
  • Residential customers without power for 48 hours or longer may be entitled to an automatic payment of $25 to $100 for their inconvenience under PG&E’s SafetyNet Program. No action is required.

For more information about Pacific Gas and Electric Company, please visit our web site at www.pge.com.

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