OAKLAND, Calif.— With many customers still drying out from rains earlier this week, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is preparing for a stronger storm forecasted to arrive Sunday. The storm, which meteorologists are calling an atmospheric river event, is expected to bring heavy rain, strong winds and potential power outages to customers across Central and Northern California.   The storm is expected to have the heaviest impact on communities along the Central Coast and in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys, according to PG&E Meteorologist Evan Duffey.  

“The active storm track we experienced this week will continue into this weekend with a significant storm likely arriving on Sunday and continuing into Monday. This storm is looking to be stronger than the Wednesday/Thursday system of this week, with gusty winds expected for large swaths of the territory accompanied by periods of heavy rain,” said Duffey.  

PG&E has been preparing for this storm, staging crews in the areas expected to receive the most severe storm impacts. Electric, Gas and tree crews follow guidance from meteorologists to forecast crew and material needs, and timing of the storm.  

Website Improvements Provide More Information, Faster

If an outage does occur, PG&E’s online outage center has been updated and improved based on customer feedback. Significant changes include:

  • Faster loading times to find important outage information
  • An Outage Status Tracker so customers can get status updates on the assessment and repair of their outage
  • More local information on the extent of outages around a customer’s home and business
  • More information on how to prepare ahead of outages, what causes outages and how PG&E prioritizes restoration work.

Additionally, renters and others without a PG&E account can sign up for outage notifications by text, email, or phone. PG&E will let customers know the cause of an outage, when crews are on their way, the estimated restoration time and when power has been restored. If receiving an outage text, customers can reply “status” to learn the latest information on the outage without visiting the outage page.

Storm Safety Tips  

As PG&E follows its plan to prepare for the storm, customers are urged to prepare their families as well.

  • 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 9-1-1 and then PG&E at 1-800-743-5002.
  • Use generators safely: Customers with standby electric generators should ensure 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 powerlines. If using portable generators, be sure they are in a well-ventilated area.
  • Use flashlights, not candles: During a power outage, use battery-operated flashlights and not candles, due to the risk of fire. And keep extra batteries on hand. If you must use candles, please keep them away from drapes, lampshades, animals 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. Having a portable charging device helps to keep your cell phone running.
  • Have fresh drinking water and ice: Freeze plastic containers filled with water to make blocks of ice that can be placed in your refrigerator/freezer to prevent food spoilage.
  • Secure your outside furniture: Strong winds can blow lawn chairs and other outdoor items into powerlines.
  • 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.
  • Safely clean up: After the storm has passed, be sure to safely clean up. Never touch downed wires and always call 8-1-1 or visit 811express.com at least two full business days before digging to have all underground utilities safely marked.

Other tips can be found at: Safety and Preparedness, Storm Safety, and Safety Action Center.  

About PG&E Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is a combined natural gas and electric utility serving more than 16 million people across 70,000 square miles in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit pge.com and pge.com/news