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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. October 15, 2020 – With an ongoing Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) event that could have affected about 53,000 customers, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) continued Thursday to focus on safety, monitor the weather, and support our customers recognizing the hardship that a PSPS represents.
Here are some updates on the weather, the event, and how customers are being supported.
Oct. 14-16 Public Safety Power Shutoff
About 53,000 customers in 24 counties were within the original forecasted PSPS footprint. Due to some improving weather conditions and deployment of technology, only about 41,000 were de-energized. This includes 4,000 customers in the Southern Sierra who had been told that they would be de-energized today have now been told that more favorable weather means that they won’t lose power during the PSPS event.
Before the event began, PG&E was able to reduce the impact of the PSPS event by keeping about 12,000 customers energized through temporary and permanent generation, off-grid service, and by using devices that split or sectionalize power lines, which allows more precise de-energization. PG&E’s goal this year is to reduce the number of customers affected by a PSPS event by one-third compared to last year.
In some locations, the severe weather subsided enough during the day for PG&E’s Meteorology team to issue an “all clear,” meaning that electric crews could begin patrols of power lines as the first step toward restoration. Once de-energized for a PSPS event, power lines must be visually inspected to ensure that no wind-driven damage or hazards such as tree limbs entwined in lines exist. Once inspected, the lines can be energized, restoring service to customers. As of 6 p.m. today, PG&E restored about 8,000 customers who had been de-energized for this event with an expectation that another 2,000 customers could be restored tonight.
PG&E expects that the “all clear” will be issued in all remaining areas of the PSPS footprint Friday morning, which means more than 1,000 PG&E employees will be on the ground or in more than 40 helicopters to conduct line patrols and restore customers. The majority of customers affected by this PSPS event are expected to be restored by late Friday.