Dealing with outages during winter storms

Largest storm during this week’s series expected Wednesday— PG&E has a plan and wants customers to have a plan, too.
An Express reporter in Sacramento witnessed a tree crush a wrought iron fence during a torrential rain and wind storm on Sunday, January 6, 2019. Photo by Matthew Keys / Winters Express

Support Local Journalism


The rainy January continues in Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s service territory, and forecasts show that the strongest storm this week will arrive Wednesday afternoon and into Thursday. PG&E has a plan to safely deal with outages and restoration work. The company is urging its customers to take the necessary steps to be prepared and stay safe.

PG&E meteorologists forecast continued gusty winds from the south, widespread rain and potential for heavy mountain snow, with the majority expected to fall above 5,000 feet. A break in the storms is possible Friday lasting through early next week.

“We’re in the midst of the second large weather system of the year with the biggest storm expected late Wednesday afternoon, and we want to remind our customers to be prepared and have a plan. Our meteorology team is closely tracking the weather and working with our team in the field to ensure we’re ready to restore outages safely and as quickly as possible,” said PG&E meteorologist Mike Voss.

PG&E’s meteorology team uses a Storm Outage Prediction Model that incorporates real-time weather forecasts, historic data and system knowledge to show where and when storm impacts will be most severe. This model enables the company to pre-stage crews and equipment as storms approach to enable rapid response to outages.

Storm Safety Tips:

• Never touch downed wires: If you see a downed power line, assume it is energized and extremely dangerous. Do not touch or try to move it—and keep children and animals away. Report downed power lines immediately by calling 911 and by calling PG&E at 1-800-743-5002.

Use flashlights, not candles: During a power outage, use battery-operated flashlights, and not candles, due to the risk of fire. If you must use candles, please keep them away from drapes, lampshades and small children. Do not leave candles unattended.

• Have a backup phone: If you have a telephone system that requires electricity to work, such as a cordless phone or answering machine, plan to have a standard telephone or cellular phone ready as a backup.

• Have fresh drinking water, ice: 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.

Secure outdoor furniture: Deck furniture, lightweight yard structures and decorative lawn items should be secured as they can be blown by high winds and damage overhead power lines and property.

Use generators safely: Customers with standby electric generators should make sure they are properly installed by a licensed electrician in a well-ventilated area. Improperly installed generators pose a significant danger to customers, as well as crews working on power lines. If using portable generators, be sure they are in a well-ventilated area.

Turn off appliances: If you experience an outage, unplug or turn off all electrical appliances to avoid overloading circuits and to prevent 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.

Safely clean up: After the storm has passed, be sure to safely clean up. Never touch downed wires and always call 811 or visit at least two full business days before digging to have all underground utilities safely marked.

Other tips can be found at


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Previous Article

Letters: Planning for All Eighties Class Reunion

Next Article

How I fell in love with Winters

Related Posts