SONOMA COUNTY (KPIX 5) — For anyone in the North Bay waiting for their power to be restored Friday, there were about 6,000 people trying to make it happen.
“Yeah, every bit of it has to be eyeballed,” said a lineman named Brian. “We have to have eyes on it. Storm damage, make sure there’s no limbs, no wire down.”
Brian and his colleague Gordon were among those trying to get the lines re-energized. Contractors who had traveled down from Washington State, they were assigned this corner of Sonoma County near Sonoma Mountain.
It was a slow and often grueling job.
“A lot of protocols we have to follow,” Brian explained. “It’s time-consuming. We work as fast as we can to get the peoples lights back on.”
Their job is to get their eyes on every single inch of their assigned line, no matter where it goes. Out here, that can present some challenges.
“Probably a good mile mile and a half,” Gordon explains looking at a map that indicates a line through rugged woodlands.
For some in Sonoma County, this work had already produced results.
“Here, we were out for two days,” said Mark Lazzini of Lazzini’s Market & Delicatessen in Santa Rosa. “Had to throw a lot of stuff out.”
The power was back on in time for the lunch rush Friday, but Lazzini was still frustrated.
“Hard to plan anything, ’cause we didn’t know when it was gonna go on,” he explained between customers, complaining about the information he wasn’t getting from PG&E. “Go online and couldn’t find anything. Call the number, couldn’t get through.”
At mid-afternoon, Patty Iraci was still waiting for power, making do with a generator and a plastic kiddie pool.
“For laundry and flushing the toilet,” Iraci explained. The power outage left her without water.
So this was how the major PSPS event was winding down: a little more waiting for some, and a lot of work for those line crews.
“That’s just what we’ve done so far,” Gordon explained as he showed his line assignment.
And this was a job unfolding in just one corner of an outage that has affected much of the state.
“It’s big,” Brian says of the job. “It’s pretty big.”