WILLITS, 1/29/21 — At least 7,000 PG&E customers remain without power, more than 72 hours after outages began for some, and many of those will not see complete restoration for several more days, an estimate which is being complicated by another impending storm and flood watch.
Of course, because PG&E only lists the number of customers suffering an outage, the actual number of people is much higher.
Isolated attempts are relief are being offered. In Laytonville the Healthy Start office was offering people a warm place to charge their phones — masks required and available. But The Mendocino Voice is not aware of any coordinated effort by PG&E or county government, to provide charging stations, or heated locations. Such efforts, while common during planned power-outages in fire season, seem to be complicated by the storm, and COVID.
No hard estimate for when the lights will come back on has been offered county-wide, though some individual customers have received notice. However, it appears that PG&E is still in the process of assessing the damage in many parts of the county, as the next storm bears down.
Some water districts, including Laytonville and Brooktrails, have sent notices to users that the lack of electricity to power pumps may mean low or no flow, and are asking people to conserve water.
Here is the latest press release from PG&E on the situation:
PG&E crews are working round the clock to restore power safely and as quickly as possible to the approx. 7,000 customers in Mendocino County who are experiencing an extended outage (down from 8,258 last night) due to the prolonged Atmospheric River Storm. We understand the hardships going without power has had on our customers. We are aware the hardship that extended outages represent and we appreciate the patience of our customers.
PG&E has been, and will continue to reach out to every customer today who is still without power due to storm-related outages. This includes automated phone calls with updated information as well as through other channels. In areas with damaged infrastructure and access issues, restoration will extend into tonight, tomorrow and possibly through Sunday. PG&E will share an estimated time of restoration (ETOR) for all customers in areas where damage assessment has been completed. The remaining customers will be contacted to let them know when we expect to have a troubleman or inspector in their area to assess the damage. So they are aware of when we’ll be in their area.
Customers can call PG&E at (800) 743-5002 for additional information. Or visit www.pge.com/outages.
Damage from wind, heavy rains and snow, and access issues due to roads blocked by trees, debris and snow, is most severe in a few location, Willits and the Brooktrails area, for example. We are utilizing snow cats, off-road vehicles and helicopters to aide in the assessment of damage in the areas with the most access issues and damage.
Crews continue to focus on the areas where the largest number of customers remain without of power, including locations in Mendocino and Humboldt counties. PG&E has been and will continue to move crews from less-impacted areas into these locations.
Hundreds of PG&E, contractor and mutual-aid electric and vegetation management crews are working around-the-clock to restore service to customers. More than 450 crews plus another 500 or so troublemen and qualified electrical workers are engaged in assessment and restoration work. They are being supported by thousands of other PG&E employees who are staffing local and regional emergency-response centers, either virtually or in person.
More than 90 percent of residences and businesses that lost power due to strong winds, heavy rains and snow have had their power restored. PG&E has found approximately 1,500 instances of damage so far where infrastructure needs to be replaced or repaired. Although damage assessments continue, a preliminary tabulation shows 1417 spans of conductor that need to be replaced or repaired, 439 broken crossarms, 365 broken poles and 307 broken transformers. In all, 3,614 individual system components need to be repaired or replaced.Deanna Contreras with PG&E