PG&E to Customers: Have a Plan for Wintry Weather Headed our Way
SAN FRANCISCO — Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) meteorologists are forecasting a powerful winter storm for Northern and Central California this week. PG&E is urging its customers to take the necessary steps to be prepared and stay safe.
The storm arrives Tuesday and will linger until Thanksgiving day.
“Although the arrival of wet weather is welcome, the storm has the potential to cause significant outages due to strong winds, rain, thunderstorms and heavy mountain snow. We’re urging our customers to have a plan to keep themselves and their families safe. Our meteorology team is closely tracking the weather and working with our operations teams in the field to ensure we’re ready to restore outages safely and as quickly as possible,” said PG&E principal meteorologist Scott Strenfel.
PG&E’s meteorology team has developed a Storm Outage Prediction Model that incorporates real-time weather forecasts, historical data and system knowledge to accurately show where and when storm impacts will be most severe. This model enables the company to pre-stage crews and equipment as storms approach to enable rapid response to outages.
Storm Safety Tips:
- Never touch downed wires: 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 by calling PG&E at 1-800-743-5002.
- Use flashlights, not candles: During a power outage, use battery-operated flashlights, and not candles, due to the risk of fire. If you must use candles, please keep them away from drapes, lampshades, animals and small children. Do not leave candles unattended.
- Have a backup phone: If you have a telephone system that requires electricity to work, such as a cordless phone or answering machine, plan to have a standard telephone or cellular phone ready as a backup.
- Have fresh drinking water, ice: Freeze plastic containers filled with water to make blocks of ice that can be placed in your refrigerator/freezer during an outage to prevent foods from spoiling. Blue Ice from your picnic cooler also works well in the freezer.
- Secure outdoor furniture: Deck furniture, lightweight yard structures and decorative lawn items should be secured as they can be blown by high winds and damage overhead power lines and property.
- Use generators safely: Customers with standby electric generators should make sure they are properly installed by a licensed electrician in a well-ventilated area. Improperly installed generators pose a significant danger to customers, as well as crews working on power lines. If using portable generators, be sure they are in a well-ventilated area.
- Turn off appliances: If you experience an outage, unplug or turn off all electrical appliances to avoid overloading circuits and to prevent fire hazards when power is restored. Simply 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.
- Safely clean up: After the storm has passed, be sure to safely clean up. Never touch downed wires and always call 811 or visit 811express.com at least two full business days before digging to have all underground utilities safely marked.
Other tips can be found at pge.com/beprepared
Thanksgiving Week Winter Storm Readiness
This week’s winter storm is expected to bring high winds and snow to as low as 500 feet or lower in some regions and potentially cause power outages throughout Northern and Central California, PG&E advised today.
PG&E works year-round to minimize power outages during storms. Snowfall can cause tree branches to fail, particularly in areas that usually do not get heavy snowfall.
PG&E has a plan to restore power safely and as quickly as possible; however, this storm will cause some power outages, and we encourage our customers to have a plan and above all else, stay safe.
Always treat downed power lines as if they are energized and extremely dangerous. Keep yourself and others away from them. Be aware that some trees may be weak due to the drought and more vulnerable to falling in snowy, wet and windy weather. If you see damaged power lines or electrical equipment, call 911 immediately.
Outage Restoration and Wind Storm Updates
The latest in a series of winter storms is on track to impact PG&E’s service area beginning today and continuing through Wednesday. The primary weather risks will be heavy rain, low snow and strong winds. PG&E meteorologists said the snow level could fall to as lower as 500 feet or lower, meaning that areas that typically don’t get snowfall might this week. These conditions could cause vegetation and other debris to bring down power lines, damage equipment and interrupt electric service throughout the region.
For outage updates, visit www.pge.com/outage or call PG&E’s Customer Outage line at 1-800-743-5002. You can also log in to your account at pge.com to receive proactive outage alerts through email, text or phone.
Customer Safety Tips
CUSTOMER PREPAREDNESS AND SAFETY TIPS
- PG&E encourages customers to have a plan, prepare for power outages and above all else, stay safe.
- Customers can get updates on outages in their neighborhood through a variety of channels.
- Have flashlights, radios and fresh batteries ready and know where to go for updates on storm conditions and power outages.
- If you have a telephone system that requires electricity to work, such as a cordless phone or answering machine, plan to have a standard telephone or cellular phone ready as a backup.
- Freeze plastic containers filled with water to make blocks of ice that can be placed in your refrigerator/freezer during an outage to prevent foods from spoiling. Blue Ice from your picnic cooler also works well in the freezer.
- Secure outdoor furniture, lightweight yard structures and decorative lawn items that can be blown by high winds to prevent them from damaging overhead power lines and property.
- If you have a stand-by generator, make sure that it’s installed safely and inform PG&E to avoid risking damage to your property and endangering PG&E workers. Information on the safe installation of generators can be found on our website at www.pge.com/generator.
Power Outage Safety Tips
Treat all low hanging and downed power lines as if they are energized and extremely dangerous. Keep yourself and others away from them. Be aware of trees, pools of water and other objects that may be in contact with power lines. If you see damaged power lines and electric equipment, call 911, and then notify PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.
- During an outage, use battery-operated flashlights, and not candles, due to the risk of fire. If you must use candles, keep them away from drapes, lampshades, holiday trees and small children. Do not leave candles unattended.
- If your power goes out, unplug or turn off all electric appliances to avoid overloading circuits and fire hazards when power is restored. Simply 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.
- Street lights: At night, the streets will be much darker than usual and will look different. Follow all posted speed limits – or drive a bit slower. Use turn signals when changing lanes and especially at corners with crosswalks.
- Traffic Signals: If traffic signals are out or flashing red, come to a full stop at every intersection, and proceed as you would at a four-way stop.
- Children and pedestrians: When driving, watch for children and pedestrians crossing streets in or out of the crosswalk. They may be wearing dark clothing and be difficult to see. If you are walking at night, take a flashlight with you and wear light-colored or light-reflective clothing.
If your vehicle comes in contact with a downed power line:
- Stay inside! The safest place is in your car. The ground around your car may be energized.
- Honk the horn, roll down your window and yell for help.
- Warn others to stay away. Anyone who touches the equipment or ground around the vehicle may be injured.
- Use your mobile phone to call 911.
- Fire department, police and PG&E workers will tell you when it is safe to get out of the vehicle.
If there is a fire and you have to exit a vehicle that has come in contact with downed power lines
- Remove loose items of clothing.
- Keep your hands at your sides and jump clear of the vehicle, so you are not touching the car when your feet hit the ground.
- Keep both feet close together and shuffle away from the vehicle without picking up your feet.
Customers can see current info about outages, and also sign up to receive outage alerts here: https://m.pge.com/#outages
And here is an overview of how outage alerts work: