As tens of thousands of Californians begin recovery from hundreds of lightning-caused fires burning throughout the state, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) urges customers to follow important safety guidelines as they return to evacuation zones or burn areas.
Since August 16, five major wildfires and more than a dozen smaller ones have burned more than 850,000 acres in PG&E’s service area in Northern and Central California.
The lightning-sparked wildfires have burned more than 1,500 structures and impacted nearly 40,000 PG&E electric customers.
PG&E has safely restored power to approximately 30,000 customers. In the meantime, crews continue to work to restore power to the approximately 9,000 customers who still are without power. Most of those customers, as of early this afternoon, are located in fire zones where PG&E crews cannot enter until CAL FIRE provides access, indicating that the situation is safe for our workers.
Current restoration progress
Below is a table showing the progress of customer outage restoration by fire zone areas. Currently there are approximately 9,000 customers without power, with about 8,300 customers in areas that are not currently accessible.
Power Restoration Steps for Fire Impacted Areas
PG&E’s highest priority is helping first responders safely access impacted areas by clearing roadways of any electrical assets downed during these wildfire events. Additionally, PG&E crews remove damaged trees that pose a hazard to first responders including CAL FIRE, and public safety personnel/agencies.
PG&E continues work to restore power to parts of its electric system that are near fires, but that ultimately weren’t affected.
Once CAL FIRE deems it safe to do so, PG&E crews will assess damage to its equipment and restore service in all areas. These steps include:
Inspect – Crews will work to inspect damage to PG&E equipment.
Repair – Where equipment damage is found, PG&E crews work to isolate the damaged area from the rest of the system so other parts of the system can be restored.
Restore – Once the poles, towers and lines are safe to energize, PG&E’s Control Center can complete the process and restore power to affected areas.
Notify Customers – Customers are notified that power has been restored.
Returning Home Safety Tips
For customers, PG&E recommends the following safety tips for returning to homes and businesses in evacuation zones and burn areas.
When local first responders give you the direction that you may return home, please take these steps to protect your family and home.
If you see downed power lines, treat them as if they are “live” or energized. Keep yourself and others away and call 911, then notify PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.
If you smell the distinctive “rotten egg” odor of natural gas, leave the area and call 911 immediately, and then call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.
If you or someone else shut off gas service, DO NOT turn it on yourself. Contact PG&E or a qualified professional to perform a safety inspection before restoring gas service and relighting pilot lights.
Check for damaged household electrical wiring. Turn off the power at the main electric switch if you suspect damage and consult an electrician.
Make sure generators are properly installed by a licensed electrician. Improperly installed generators pose a significant danger.