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Most PG&E Customers Power Restored, Damage, Smoke, And Fires Hinder Repairs

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Sonora, CA — Over 9,000 PG&E customers remain without electricity after Tuesday’s Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) event — none of those still without lights are in the Tuolumne, Calaveras, or Mariposa counties.

In all, the utility disclosed that preliminary data shows 52 instances of “weather-related damage and hazards in the PSPS-affected areas.” Some of the destruction found by crews included downed lines and vegetation on power lines. Additionally, wind gusts reaching 66 mph were recorded during the PSPS event, according to the company. PG&E justifies, “If it had not de-energized power lines, these types of damages could have caused wildfire ignitions.”

There remain less than 1,700 customers in Butte, Humboldt, Plumas, Sierra, and Trinity counties without lights. The utility expects to have their power restored by 8 p.m. The reason for the hold-up according to company officials is that smoky and hazy skies delayed or paused some air patrols for the second day in a row. Ground patrols also faced challenging terrain in some areas where air patrols were grounded due to smoke.

Ongoing threats from wildfires and first responder requests to keep power lines de-energized for firefighters safety and to assist fire suppression efforts have kept another 6,800 customers in Butte, Humboldt, Plumas, Trinity, and Yuba counties in the dark.  Damage to electric equipment during the PSPS is also hampering power restoration to an additional 700 customers. PG&E says that it will restore power to these customers as soon as it is safe to do so.

At the completion of the PSPS, the company is required to submit a report detailing damages from the severe weather conditions to the California Public Utilities Commission within 10 days. The Sept. 7th PSPS event affected nearly 172,000 customers in 22 counties: Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Humboldt, Kern, Lake, Lassen, Mariposa, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sonoma, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolumne, and Yuba.