Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) crews continue to patrol and inspect powerlines, and make any necessary repairs, after a strong windstorm interrupted electric service for more than 371,000 customers across Central and Northern California this week.
As of early Thursday morning, more than 93 percent of customers who lost power due to the extremely high winds have been restored. Approximately 23,000 customers remain out of service with approximately 11,500 in the Sierra foothills an 10,250 in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Hundreds of crews are working in locations where the wind did the most damage to PG&E’s electric infrastructure. PG&E is cautioning that due to the significant extent of the wind damage, plus access issues caused by fallen trees, damaged homes, downed power lines and poles, and debris blocking roads, some PG&E customers in those the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Sierra foothills in Madera and Mariposa counties may be without power until Friday or longer.
“We understand the challenges that an extended power outage presents to our customers and our communities. Our crews are working to restore our customers safely, and as quickly as possible. The damage we have found from this windstorm has been monumental, but we are committed and have a relentless focus on to doing the job until all of our customers are restored,” said Sumeet Singh, PG&E’s Interim President.
In the Santa Cruz Mountains, a heavily forested area with narrow roads, the damage is considerable and still being assessed. A wind gust of 81 mph was recorded during the storm at a weather station on Mt. Umunhum. PG&E flew the area by helicopter on Wednesday to gauge the damage. PG&E will have 64 crews on-site today, working to restore customers.
In Mariposa and Madera counties, south of Yosemite National Park, the damage is equally substantial and devastating. Today, 95 PG&E crews will be on-site for repair and restoration work. Maximum wind gusts there reached 62 mph at the Triangle Road weather station in Mariposa County.
To support customers, PG&E opened Customer Resource Centers (CRCs) Wednesday afternoon in some of the hardest-hit areas, including Oakhurst, North Fork, Mariposa, La Honda, Pescadero and Scotts Valley. The CRCs will remain open throughout the duration of restoration. For more information, visit pge.com/crc. PG&E will be updating estimated restoration times on its website so customers get a better sense of when power will be specifically restored to their address.
PG&E did initiate a targeted Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) early Tuesday for about 5,000 customers in seven counties. Service has been restored to all the customers affected by the PSPS, except for those in areas where circuits sustained wind damage. Those repairs are ongoing.