PG&E: Equipment damage, hazards found during PSPS

PG&E Power Shutoffs

NAPA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) – PG&E says essentially all customers who can receive electric service are now restored.

Many customers have been in the dark during a public safety power shut off since Sunday.

Power was turned off to hundreds of thousands of customers in Northern California during a historic wind event and Red Flag Warnings.

The utility says at least 76 instances of damage to electric equipment were found.

PG&E says vegetation related damage and hazards were found across the Bay Area during the PSPS, including in Napa County.

“All the Bay Area regions that were part of this PSPS did experience damage or debris on the lines and any of those instances could have triggered a spark that could have led to a fire and that’s exactly why we call these PSPS events,” Tamar Sarkissian said. 

No major wildfires ignited during PG&E’s latest public safety power shutoff when a historic wind event took place.

The strongest recorded gust 89 miles per hour in the high peaks of Mt. Saint Helena in Napa County and recorded gusts over 40 miles per hour across the Bay Area.

“It was pretty windy. We had our windows open and you know we were trying to smell for smoke so you kind of get used to that we’re going to bed and wondering what’s going to happen in the middle of the night,” Kirsten Brown said. 

Kirsten Brown lives in the Napa Valley and had her power turned off Sunday night until Tuesday night.

Brown says she feels safe during PSPS events but it comes with challenges.

“I think it’s a little unnerving to not be able to get certain information because a lot of the time the wifi goes down with it, so when it’s windy it’s a little unnerving but other than that, I’m happy they’re doing it it’s better than having another fire,” Brown said. 

As the high winds subsided and Red Flag Warnings expired, the National Weather Service says conditions remain very dry and will look to stay that way for some time.

A reminder to remain fire weather aware and to be prepared.

PG&E says there are no anticipated shutoffs for now.

“At this time, we’re looking forward to about a week and there’s no indication for a need for another PSPS, however, our meteorology team does track the weather 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so if there is any change in the weather we’ll know well ahead of time,” Sarkissian said. 

In the meantime, PG&E says they’ve been working the past year to upgrade its infrastructure to better withstand severe weather that project could take years to complete.

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