SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) – Pacific Gas & Electric crews have restored power to nearly all of the Northern California customers impacted by the Monday’s Public Safety Power Shutoffs.
The utility released an update, late Wednesday night, saying about 97 percent of its customers had their power restored, but some would remain out of service due to ongoing wildfire threats and impacts from smoke.
Some 155,000 customers in 22 counties, including Sonoma and Lake County, had power fully restored by late Wednesday, according to PG&E. Approximately 5,000 customers in counties including Napa, Humboldt, Butte, Plumas, Sierra, Trinity and Yuba will have their power restored on Thursday.
Tuesday morning, PG&E gave the “all clear” in areas impacted by the shutoffs that began on Labor Day, setting the stage for power to be restored to customers across Northern California, including Wine Country.
According to the utility, more than 3,000 employees had begun inspecting 10,750 miles of transmission lines starting at daybreak Wednesday.
PG&E anticipates power to be restored to the vast majority of customers by the end of the day, but some customers may experience delays due to repairs or if inspections from aircraft are suspended due to smoke.
PSPS UPDATE: Power has been restored to 30,000 customers. Ground crews are patrolling lines to ensure they are safe to re-energize. Some air inspections paused due to poor visibility caused by smoky & hazy skies as well as gusty easterly winds. Thank you for your patience. pic.twitter.com/XKt83oJ4EW
— PG&E (@PGE4Me) September 9, 2020
Shutoffs were called in 22 counties over increased fire danger and strong winds that were felt in much of Northern California earlier this week. The utility recorded a wind gust reaching 65 mph at its Santa Fe Geothermal weather station in Sonoma County Tuesday night, one of the strongest wind gusts reported in the PSPS impacted area.
“These Diablo winds are strong enough to break tree limbs, blow them into power lines, and cause rapid fire spread,” the utility said.
Customers in Napa and Sonoma counties are among those impacted by the latest shutoffs.
Nicky Murphy, a Santa Rosa resident says, “I think it was about 3 o’clock this morning. I heard the lights go off and that was it, no power.”
She added, “I had one bar on my cell phone and no power so it was a day of work virtually lost and it’s very frustrating.”
Most of the schools in the area were also closed for the day Tuesday with many of the students unable to attend classes held via Zoom due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.