Update: PG&E Power Outages Remain Spread Across Region
Update at 8:30 p.m.: The latest numbers released by PG&E for the Mother Lode regarding customers without power in Tuolumne County are 2,537 and 1,974 in Calaveras as of 8:30 p.m.
Utility officials held a press conference this evening in San Francisco to update the work done by the 6,300 workers in the field. Vice President of Asset and Risk Management and Community Wildfire Safety Program Sumeet Singh noted that as of 6 p.m. 93 percent of power has been restored to the entire PSPS footprint. He added that in the North Valley and Sierra Foothills 78 percent of power has been restored to customers.
Singh relayed that a significant stride was made today, stating, “The higher-voltage lines that carry power over long distances, we have completed all of the safety inspections for the transmitting lines that were impacted. As a result of this event, and they have all been successfully restored, this is a significant milestone”
Some work will be done overnight where crews can get to lines, according to Singh, but he adds that in rugged terrain like the Sierra Foothills the work will end for the night and be picked up beginning at daybreak Saturday.
Noting that he had heard from directly from elected officials, customers and people on the street, about the public’s eroded trust in the company, Bill Johnson, PG&E Corporation CEO and President detailed that since the five months he has been at the company every asset in the high fire district has been inspected, repaired and brought up to standards. He refused to blame the outages on the conditions of those assets.
Regarding whether this type of widespread shutoff is the new normal for customers he stated, “If another event happens six days from now it will look a lot like this one. If it occurs six months from now, we’re going to have more tools more weather stations, more hardy equipment, and more centralization…The whole idea is to narrow the scope with fewer people impacted.”
Regarding whether he felt vindicated by the fact that there were 30 incidents of damage to equipment reported, Johnson replied, “If you looked at what was in front of us, the information we had. The decision we had to make. Even if you found no damage and despite the hardship, I think it was worth it.”
When barraged by reporters regarding who would pay for the outage, Johnson made clear, “These are weather-related events. This is no different than a winter storm. In the policy of all the [state] utilities, this is a cost that we don’t bear.”
Update at 6:40 p.m.: PG&E continues to make strides in getting the power turned on to Mother Lode customers. At around 6:30 p.m., those remaining without power in Tuolumne County are 3,447 and 2,056 in Calaveras.
After an evening briefing, Tuolumne County OES Coordinator Liz Peterson had this update from PG&E, stating, “Restoration activities are moving extremely quickly, and PG&E is now planning to have all power restored by tomorrow evening, 10/11/19 as opposed to Sunday as originally estimated.” She adds that at this point only 54,000 customers within the entire PSPS footprint remain without power.
Peterson provided a graphic, click here: PSPS Restoration Update 1700, that shows as of 4 p.m., 67% of Tuolumne County customers’ lights were back on, including 77% of medical baseline customers and 70% of critical facilities. She advises that crews continue to patrol lines in the county.
Update at 6:15 p.m: PG&E continues to re-energize after unprecedented power grid shutdown. The newest figures for customers without power are 3,667in Tuolumne County and 2056 in Calaveras County. A timeline of the restorations made today is below.
Update at 5:15 p.m.: PG&E continues to turn the lights back on for Mother Lode customers. The newest figures for Tuolumne County is 5,370 and 3,069 in Calaveras County without power. The utility has told county officials that they hope to have 98 percent of customers’ electricity restored by 6 p.m. However, some critical facilities, in particular, water tanks, treatment plants, and sewer lift stations are still without power. In Calaveras, the Copperopolis plant has been on a backup generator. So water and sewer customers should continue to conserve water throughout the weekend.
A timeline of the restorations made today is below. News Director BJ Hansen and Reporter Tori James contributed to this article.
Update at 4:30pm: PG&E is making strides in its efforts to restore 98 percent of the Mother Lode by tonight.
As of 4:30p.m. PG&E reported 10,438 Tuolumne County and 4,551 Calaveras County customers were still without lights.
Tuolumne County OES Coordinator Liz Peterson notes that some critical facilities, in particular, water tanks, treatment plants, and sewer lift stations are still without power. In Calaveras the Copperopolis plant has been on a backup generator. So water and sewer customers should continue to conserve water throughout the weekend.
Update at 4:20pm: A local water and sewer district is stressing the importance of water conservation through the end of the shutdown.
Calaveras County Water District (CCWD) continues to particularly urge residents in Copperopolis and West Point to conserve water as the Public Safety Power Shutoff(PSPS) continues to impact residents.
As reported earlier today, CCWD faced challenges overnight at its Copperopolis Water Treatment Plant, working with PG&E to secure a backup generator for the one that failed at the plant.
“Even if power is restored to your home, please do not start using water normally until CCWD sends out an update letting you know the water conservation request has been lifted,” advises CCWD spokesperson Joel Metzger.
District officials acknowledge their gratitude to customers across Calaveras County for conserving water during PG&E’s power shutdown, helping keep the water and sewer systems operational, adding they are hopeful the utility will restore power to the rest of the county by the end of the day.
Update at 2pm: More lights are coming back on across the Mother Lode following an unprecedented power grid shutdown.
According to Tuolumne County OES Coordinator Liz Peterson, “While PG&E continues to anticipate 98 percent of Tuolumne County customers to be restored by 6 p.m. tonight…some of our critical facilities, in particular, water tanks, treatment plants, and sewer lift stations are still without power.”
Consequently, she says, “All customers should continue to conserve water throughout the weekend. Please also remember that because of the size of Tuolumne County and the scope of the outage in our County, power restoration may not be as immediate as in other counties.”
She adds that she expects to have more information after the utility’s 5:30 p.m. conference call.
As of 11 a.m., PG&E was still reporting that power was restored for 48 percent of Tuolumne County and 55
percent of Calaveras County customers following its Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) due to a forecasted high wind event Wednesday. Officials say the percentages will continue to increase throughout the day and evening as safety patrols, inspections and necessary repairs are completed, and that most of those without should have power by 6 o’clock tonight.
PG&E reported as of noontime that approximately 543,000 customers impacted by the PSPS have had their power restored and that less 195,000 remain without. Electricity is back on for all impacted customers in four (Humboldt, Siskiyou, Trinity and Yolo) of the 35 involved counties. Alpine, Plumas and Sierra counties were still being reported at zero percent restoration.
Overall, approximately 738,000 customers (with each customer representing about two or three people) were impacted by the PSPS event from the Northern Sierra to the Greater Bay Area to Kern County. PG&E officials report that crews identified 23 instances of weather-related damage to the utility’s system in the PSPS-impacted areas, and the company is working to address these repairs.
In Calaveras, the revised number was 24,391, somewhat higher than the original estimate; it impacted 917 medical baseline customers. In Tuolumne County, the revised number came in a little lower at 34,413, impacting 1,828 medical baseline customers.
PG&E is continuing to operate its center at the Meadowmont Shopping Center in Arnold (2182 Highway 4) and the Mother Lode Fairgrounds in Sonora (220 Southgate Drive); hours are from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m.
Tori James and Tracey Petersen are providing the latest available information from the NewsCenter. Sabrina Biehl is updating images. BJ Hansen posted these earlier updates.
Update at 8:30am: Tuolumne County Office of Emergency Services Coordinator Liz Peterson reports that line patrol and inspection has commenced this morning. PG&E expects 98-percent of Tuolumne County customers to be restored by 6pm today.
Peterson adds, “In Tuolumne County, 48% of PG&E customers have been restored, 52% of which are medical baseline customers. 54% of our critical facilities have been restored, which includes Adventist Health Sonora.”
The community resource centers are anticipated to close this evening after 98-percent of the customers are restored.
She adds, “As a reminder, please be respectful and courteous to PG&E employees in the field who are working hard to restore our power. While we may be frustrated from our experiences over the last few days, it is not appropriate to direct that frustration to the PG&E staff in the field. If anyone wants to pass along feedback or suggestions please call the PG&E call center at 1-800-743-5002.”
Statewide 67-percent of customers affected by the planned shutoff have now been restored. Overall, PG&E found 23 instances of damage to equipment as a result of the weather event.
Update at 8:10am: The Calaveras County Water District is providing an update on the earlier issues related to a failed generator at the Copperopolis Treatment Plant. Spokesperson Joel Metzger says, “CCWD worked with PG&E last night to secure a backup generator for the Copperopolis Water Treatment Plant. It took until 3 a.m. Friday to get the backup generator hooked up and the plant running. Our water tanks were getting low by that point, and we need time to fill those tanks back up. We are urging all CCWD customers in Copperopolis to continue conserving water until PG&E restores power to all of Copperopolis.”
Original story posted at 6:50 am: Sonora, CA — While the power was turned back on to chunks of the Mother Lode yesterday afternoon, PG&E’s latest mapping indicates there are still thousands without electricity in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties, spread throughout various areas.
More line inspections will take place throughout today in order to re-energize more areas.
Statewide to this point, an estimated 426,000 addresses, of the 738,000 that lost power, have been restored. Community Resource Centers remain open at various locations across the Mother Lode.
Many schools are still without power and forced to cancel classes today. Click here to find the latest list.
To view a recap from yesterday, click here.