PG&E closing gap in wine country wildfire restorations
Pacific Gas & Electric crews have restored power to 97 percent of customers who suffered outages during the most recent northern California wildfires and has been granted access to most of the remaining powerless areas.
The utility reported Tuesday that CAL FIRE has granted it access to an additional 6,000 homes and businesses, leaving only 400 which are still inaccessible. PG&E expected to restore power to all of those 6,000 by Wednesday or Thursday, at the latest.
More than 4,300 employees and mutual-aid partners have been working on restoration efforts since October 9. The wine country wildfires have killed 31 people, making them the deadliest in California history, according to media reports. Thousands of homes and other structures were damaged or destroyed in the blaze, while crews were forced to battle new fires in Sausalito and Santa Cruz as late as Tuesday.
As of late Tuesday, there were about 10,500 electric customers without power in the fire-impacted areas.
PG&E crews will remain active in Sonoma and Napa Counties as they make the necessary permanent repairs to the company’s gas and electric systems, according to the San Francisco-based utility’s press release.
Through Wednesday, PG&E gas service representatives and those from other Western utilities will continue restoring service to the remaining 11,000 customers who do not presently have gas service, but are in a position to accept gas service. This process involves working with the individual customers to relight their pilot lights. Restoration begins once infrastructure is repaired, and areas have been deemed safe by relevant authorities.
In all, as a result of the firestorm, more than 359,000 customers lost electric service and more than 42,000 gas customers had their gas service turned off. We took this action with safety first in mind to protect our customers and our communities.
The cause of the wildfires is undetermined, although some suspicion has rested on PG&E power lines allegedly brought down by gale force winds. A suspected arsonist, however, was arrested in Sonoma on Sunday, according to news reports.