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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

PG&E Safety Info, Storm Tips and Outage Info

Written by  dan glaser
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PG&E Customer Safety and Power Restoration Priorities

Safety is Our First Concern:

 

We care about your safety. If you see a downed power line, assume it is energized and keep yourself and others away. Do not touch or try to move it.
  • Report downed power lines by calling 911 immediately then notify PG&E at 1-800-743-5002.
  • Retrieve outage status information through PG&E’s Outage Information Number at 1-800-743-5002

The Seven Steps to Restore Power:

We prepare for storms year-round with our award-winning vegetation management program, training and exercises. We are ready to do what it takes to restore power to our customers as soon as safely possible. When our crews are called into action, there are certain steps they take to make this happen:

  1. Protect public and employee safety. Our top priority is to clear downed power lines and ensure that facilities such as hospitals, fire and police departments, and public utilities have power.
  2. Check generation facilities. We make sure the original power source — the power plant — is operating.
  3. Repair transmission lines. These keep our hundreds of substations energized.
  4. Repair substations. The substations convert high-voltage power for home use. Even if you have underground service, you can still lose power when substations and transmission lines are down.
  5. Repair distribution lines. These main power lines connect substations to neighborhoods and serve 1,000 to 3,000 customers.
  6. Repair tap lines. These lines feed into pockets of 20 to 300 homes.
  7. Connect individual customers whose power is out. This is the most difficult and time-consuming step, but before we can connect individual homes, we must complete the previous steps. 

Why did the crews arrive and then leave without restoring power?

We care about the safety of our employees. We do not ask them to make repairs when conditions are unsafe or the damaged area is dangerous. The company sends personnel who first focus on making the situation safe and then begin the survey of storm damage to begin making repairs. Sometimes a crew may actually have to leave an area to repair facilities elsewhere that feed into your area, so when they make the repair that is affecting you, power can be restored quickly.

 

Customer Storm Preparation Tips 

Be prepared for power outages year-round with these tips:

·      Have battery-operated flashlights and radios with fresh batteries ready. Listen for updates on storm conditions and power outages.

·      If you have a telephone system that requires electricity to work, such as a cordless phone or answering machine, plan for alternate communication – have a standard telephone handset, cellular telephone or pager ready as a backup.

·      Candles pose a fire risk, and you should avoid using them. If you must use candles, keep them away from drapes, lampshades and small children. Do not leave candles unattended.

·      Freeze plastic containers filled with water to make blocks of ice that can be placed in your refrigerator/freezer during an outage to prevent foods from spoiling. Blue Ice from your picnic cooler also works well in the freezer.

·      If you have a stand-by generator, make sure that it’s installed safely and inform PG&E to avoid risking damage to your property and endangering PG&E workers. Information on the safe installation of generators can be found on our website at www.pge.com/generator.

·      If your power goes out, unplug or turn off all electric appliances to avoid overloading circuits and fire hazards when power is restored. Simply leave a single lamp on to alert you when power returns. Turn your appliances back on one at a time when conditions return to normal.

·      Treat all downed power lines as if they are “live” or energized.  Keep yourself and others away from them and immediately call 911 then notify PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.

Before calling PG&E about a power outage:

·      Check to see if other neighbors are affected. This would confirm if an outage has occurred in just your residence or within the neighborhood area.

·      If only your residence is without power, check circuit breakers and/or fuse boxes to see if the problem is limited to the home electric system.

·      After performing the steps above, report your outage to: PG&E's 24-Hour Emergency and Customer Service Line 1-800-743-5000.

·      Our phone lines may become very busy during major storms, so we ask for your patience if you are trying to reach us. 

 

How PG&E is Notified of, Responds to and Manages Power Outages

 

Restoring power safely and quickly is our top priority. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is committed to communicating outage information to customers, the media and public officials, assessing damage, prioritizing restoration and restoring power to the affected customers in a timely manner.

Notification of Electric Outages:  PG&E is made aware of power interruptions primarily by one of three sources.

·      Customer calls:  Customers who telephone our Customer Call Center (1-800-743-5000) after experiencing an outage or other problem provide the bulk of outage information about the utility’s electric system.

·      Monitoring Systems:  The next largest source of outage information comes from computers and other remote monitoring systems.  This system remotely detects electric disturbances and notifies the appropriate restoration group, but is not located on all circuits. 

·      Emergency Agencies:  Police and Fire Departments also report hazardous situations to PG&E. 

·      News Media:  News media may alert the company about power outages based on emergency scanners or due to calls from customers.  



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