PG&E's Preparation and Response

PG&E is committed to delivering safe and reliable power to each of our customers every day. We constantly work to safeguard our electric system to minimize the risk of service interruptions. During the winter storm season, when outages may occur, our crews and emergency response teams do everything they can to keep the lights on. When storms result in interruption to your service, we do our best to restore service as quickly and as safely as possible.

Working Year-Round

Tree branches or entire trees falling into power lines are a common cause of power outages during high winds, heavy snow and ice storms. Each year PG&E prunes or removes approximately 1,600,000 trees to make sure that the required distances between vegetation and our power lines are maintained. We also inspect 113,000 miles of distribution line and 18,500 miles of transmission line, as well as poles and transmission structures, to ensure the safety and reliability of our system.

Improving the System

Through our ongoing commitment to reliability, PG&E invests in the communities we serve by replacing aging equipment to improve our electric distribution system and installing upgrades to keep up with the increasing demand for power.

We also continue to improve our process, software, technology and training to speed our response to power outages. We are making these enhancements so that we can take your calls and dispatch our crews to restore your power in the most efficient way possible.

PG&E at the Ready

PG&E employees continuously train on how to respond quickly and effectively during an emergency, so we are prepared for the challenge of winter storms. By participating in emergency preparedness drills and coordinating with public safety organizations and other utilities before a storm hits, we are ready when the time comes to respond.

The safety of our customers and employees is always our top priority. When conditions are safe, crews work as quickly and as safely as possible to restore power to our customers.

It is important to remember that the first thing our crews must do after a storm is assess the damage. In the case of a major, widespread storm, this can take days. During this phase you may see PG&E trucks in your neighborhood as you continue to experience an outage. The information they are gathering helps us plan our work.


Priority is given to addressing hazardous situations, such as downed wires. PG&E then focuses on restoration of the largest number of customers as quickly as possible, and on repairs that will restore service to critical facilities such as hospitals, water pumping stations and police and fire departments.

As we work to restore power to all our customers you may see your neighbor’s lights on, while you remain in the dark. Different parts of a neighborhood may be on different circuits, and not all circuits are restored at once. But sometimes the problem only affects service to your home. It is important to call PG&E at 1-800-743-5002 any time you experience an outage.