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Before The Lights Go Out

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Stockton, CA – With the Mother Lode and Sierra Nevada prone to power outages during storms and the region expecting the arrival of severe weather and high wind conditions sometime Wednesday night, PG&E cautions residents to do everything you can in advance to prepare for the possibility.

One of the top tips that PG&E spokesman Denny Boyles recommends is to safeguard your perishable provisions while you can. “We recommend that customers fill several plastic bottles with water and put them in their freezer, so if they do lose power, they can use it to extend the lives of the food in the refrigerators,” he says.

The use of generators, while recommended, can become an issue, he adds. “Obviously, we’re always concerned if customers are thinking of installing generators that they have a qualified electrician install it…we don’t want that generator back-feeding our system if there is damaged equipment in the area. We want [the generator] just powering [the] home.”

As far as PG&E’s own storm preparations, Boyles reports that the company is reviewing staffing and doing proactive vegetation work in areas that are expected to be hardest hit by the snow and wind to protect the lines in those areas. He notes that crews inspect and prune around two million trees each year to protect the electric grids.

Whether a downed wire seems like it is sparking or not, Boyles cautions, the best way to protect yourself and family is to treat every downed line as if it is live. He says, “Keep a distance from it and call us, and we’ll send somebody out. What we do is, once we are out in an area where there is a downed line, we do not leave until it has been repaired.”

With regard to reporting an outage or downed line, Boyles says, the best number to call is 800-743-5000.

He adds, “The good news for our customers is that we’ve experienced some record reliability lately, so even with strong impacts coming in, we are feeling prepared…a lot of our equipment is automated now, but if a customer has an outage, they still should absolutely call.”