Two cold weather systems from the Gulf of Alaska are forecasted to bring rain, wind, lightning and low snow to Northern California, continuing through Friday. These adverse weather conditions could result in falling trees or lightning strikes taking down power lines and interrupting electric service.
To prepare for such storms and minimize outages, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has extensive training, preventive maintenance and tree pruning programs. 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.
When outages do occur, PG&E employees remain focused on ensuring public safety, determining the extent of the damage, providing customers with timely and accurate 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 call the 24-hour Outage Service Line at 800-743-5002 to report an outage, to report a hazardous condition or to get the latest information on outages in their community. Outage information is also available online through a live outage map and storm guide at http://pge.com/outages; through PG&E’s Twitter feed at http://twitter.com/pge4me; and through PG&E’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pacificgasandelectric.
PG&E offers these suggestions to help customers get ready for the oncoming storms:
— If you see a downed power line, assume it is energized and extremely dangerous. Do not touch or try to move it, and keep children and animals away. Report downed power lines immediately by calling 911 and PG&E at 800-743-5002.
— Do not use candles during a power outage because of the risk of fire. If you must use candles, use extreme caution. Do not use candles near drapes or under lampshades. 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://pge.com/generator.