Pacific Gas and Electric Co. readies for series of ‘El Nino’ winter storms, offers tips to keep customers safe

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 8, 2002 — The first series of winter storms is forecast to bring wet, windy weather to Northern and Central California beginning today and continuing through the weekend.

Weather experts say rain may be heavy at times and snow is likely in the higher mountain elevations. Winds, gusting up to 40 miles per hour and higher, are expected in many parts of the state.

This winter season, meteorologists are predicting a complete range of weather conditions — sunny mild to stormy cold — inspired by the familiar El Nino weather pattern. The 18,000 men and women at Pacific Gas and Electric Company are prepared to provide responsive service and timely information for its 14 million customers.

“When Mother Nature strikes, PG&E employees are ready to respond to emergencies, both on the phones and in the field,” said Gordon Smith, president and chief executive officer at the utility. “The company works year round to ensure we are prepared when the winter weather returns to Northern and Central California.”

The company’s customer communications system includes three state-of-art call centers where customers can find out about power outages and the length of time they might be without electricity. In addition, by providing information to customers, these call centers, capable of handling more than 600,000 calls an hour, also receive information from customers that can alert dispatchers to trouble spots.

Throughout its service area, Pacific Gas and Electric Company has permanent emergency coordination centers established in key regional positions. A centralized command center in San Francisco, powered by the latest technology, coordinates all information on weather, customer service outages, deployment of the company’s emergency personnel, and the relaying of vital information to customers through the news media.

As regular maintenance and to assure the best possible service, PG&E patrols every mile of every line, every year — all 110,000 miles of electric distribution system. By the end of 2002, the company expects to spend approximately $140 million on its vegetation management program, trimming trees and removing the worst ones entirely, to help prevent tree branches from coming into contact with power lines and causing outages.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company has recently unveiled the Safety Corner, a new section of the company’s web site dedicated to providing customers important information about storm preparation and safety.

For more information about Pacific Gas and Electric Company, please visit our web site,

Source: Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at

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