PG&E assesses wildfire impact on electric grid

Crews from Pacific Gas and Electric Co. worked through the weekend to support first responders including CAL FIRE on three major wildfires in Northern and Central California. The company is also assessing impacts to portions of the electric grid damaged by these active fires.

There are nearly 12,800 customers without power, and many of those are under mandatory evacuation from their homes and businesses. Assessment and power restoration times are being impacted by the ability to safely access local affected areas. The company is not able to provide an estimated time of restoration to all affected customers at this time.

The three fires are:

The Valley Fire, burning in Lake County, about 100 miles north of San Francisco, has engulfed more than 50,000 acres. The fire has impacted PG&E infrastructure in the burn area, causing a disruption in service to 7,100 PG&E customers. The Valley Fire is the newest of three major fires in PG&E’s service area.

The Butte Fire, which has raged in Amador and Calaveras counties since Wednesday, has burned more than 65,000 acres and is just 20 percent contained. The Butte Fire has damaged PG&E power lines and poles, causing power outages to about 5,600 customers. The utility was able to restore power to 5,000 customers in Pine Grove by providing temporary generation. PG&E now projects to restore power to affected customers later this week, although this is dependent on variables including the treacherous terrain and the movement of the fire.

The Rough Fire has burned 130,000 acres in Fresno County. Although it had been considered relatively contained at 31 percent, the fire gained momentum over the weekend and now has the potential to threaten inhabited regions. PG&E continues to be engaged in the Rough Fire and its potential to affect customers. Currently, there are 65 customers without power in areas that are under mandatory evacuation orders from fire officials.

PG&E crews have gained limited access to the Valley, Butte and Rough fire areas, performing damage assessments and repairs where possible. More than 500 PG&E personnel are involved in battling these outages, with additional emergency repair crews steadily arriving.

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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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