UPDATE: All schools in the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) will be closed on Thursday due to the severe storm forecast, district officials announced Wednesday.
What follows is a statement from Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and an information graphic from the National Weather Service regarding the storm:
With a major storm now heading toward Northern and Central California, PG&E is reminding customers that power outages may occur this week due to significant rainfall, potential flooding and high winds. PG&E is implementing its emergency preparedness plans and utilizing advanced technology to be ready to restore service to impacted customers safely and as quickly as possible.
“With storms bearing down on our region, we want our customers to know that PG&E has a plan, is mobilizing resources and will work around the clock to restore service to customers,” said Geisha Williams, Executive Vice President of Electric Operations. “Likewise, we encourage our customers to have a personal or family preparedness plan in place and – above all else – stay safe as winter weather arrives in our area.”
PG&E crews are prepared and ready to respond to power outages as soon as weather conditions permit the safe restoration of power. The utility is also pre-positioning contract power restoration and vegetation management crews.
PG&E routinely practices its preparedness and response to storms and other emergencies through company exercises and through drills with local first responders. The company also utilizes the latest technology to restore power more quickly and efficiently after a storm. This includes the use of storm outage prediction models, the installation of automated equipment that“self-heals” the electric grid as well as timely and accurate outage data from its network of more than 4.5 million electric Smart Meters™.
PG&E urges customers to stay safe during storms and remember the following safety tips:
· Always treat low hanging and downed power lines as if they are energized and extremely dangerous. Keep yourself and others away from them. Be aware that trees, pools of water and other objects that may be in contact with power lines. If you see damaged power lines or electrical equipment, call 911 immediately and then notify PG&E at 1-800-743-5002.
· 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, holiday trees and small children. Do not leave candles unattended.
· Customers with 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 crews working on power lines.
· 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.