SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Tens of thousands of Bay Area electric customers are without power Friday morning because of this season’s first significant rainstorm, weather and PG&E officials said.

In all, about 23,450 PG&E customers were without power across the Bay Area as of 9:30 a.m.

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The most serious effects were being felt in the East Bay and North Bay.

About 10,340 customers were without power in the North Bay, according to PG&E officials.

The situation in the East Bay was a little worse, with 12,483 customers without power, many of those in the Richmond area.

About 690 customers were without power on the Peninsula, while less than 30 customers combined were without power in San Francisco and the South Bay.

“Most of the outages are weather related,” PG&E spokeswoman Abby Figueroa said.

One reason for the outages is pole fires, Figueroa said. The fires occur when the rain turns dust and dirt on power lines to mud. The mud conducts electricity, causing fires in some cases, Figueroa said.

“It’s not a common thing,” she said, but it occurs and can continue until the rain cleans the dirt and dust off the power lines.

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Figueroa couldn’t say how many pole fires have occurred Friday.

PG&E officials want to remind residents to treat all downed power lines as live and dangerous. Residents should stay far away and immediately call 911 and then notify PG&E’s 24-hour emergency line at (800) 743-5002.

The officials also want to ask people to try to avoid using candles during an outage, but if necessary, candles should be kept well away from drapes, lampshades and small children.

If the power does go out, residents should unplug or turn off electric appliances to avoid overloading circuits and reduce fire risks when the power comes back on.

PG&E officials said a single lamp could be left on and once power is restored appliances can be turned on one at a time.

The latest information on PG&E power outages can be found at (800) 743-5002 as well as at

Customers can also receive alerts by text, email or phone if they sign up by logging into their account.

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