Power Shutoffs: Electricity restored to 97% of customers

ByAmy Hollyfield, Laura Anthony, Luz Pena, Wayne Freedman, and Lauren Martinez KGO logo
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Contra Costa County residents frustrated with shutoffs
Thousands of PG&E customers in Contra Costa County are dealing with PG&E's latest round of Public Safety Power Shutoffs.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- PG&E says is in the process of restoring electricity to hundreds of thousands of customers. At the height of the Public Safety Power Shutoff, 345,000 customers had their power turned off across California due to high fire danger from strong winds, extremely low humidity, dry vegetation and severe drought.

PG&E says it has restored electricity to more than 335,000 customers after issuing weather "all clear" at 1:45 p.m.

BAY AREA OUTAGES: County-by-county breakdown of how many expected to lose power

As of 10:30 p.m., the utility said power restoration was at 97-percent.

PG&E expects those remaining impacted customers to have power restored by Wednesday morning.

In a press conference, officials noted there were 130 incidents of damage to their equipment during this week's wind event. Had these power lines been active when they were damaged, they could have sparked a wildfire, PG&E said.

MAP: Find out if you'll be impacted by PSPS here

North Bay

Calistoga is one of the last remaining locations waiting for PG&E to restore their electricity.

"It has been a nightmare around here," said David Frame, a local handyman.

VIDEO: PSPS woes continue in Calistoga

Of the 7,700 people still without power in Napa County Tuesday 2,200 of them are in Calistoga.

You don't need to listen carefully to hear the generators roaring in unison here in this land of the have-nots.

"It's 40 dollars every time we fill up," said Nik Guiterrez. "I've lost count. The biggest inconvenience is my kids and their distance learning. They can't use computers."

Instead of being at home, Gutierrez should have been behind the counter of his coffee shop, but that's not happening.

We followed the electrical cords, next door, and found his wife, Kyla, trying to make do in her hair salon where the not even the hot water works.

"This part of town you know you don't want your property values to go down but it is continually without power."

Of the 7,700 people still without power in Napa County Tuesday 2,200 of them are in Calistoga. They had hoped PG&E would have their lights back on tonight, but due to weather issues and wind damage to power lines, the utility says it may not happen for some until 10 p.m. tomorrow night.

That would mean a total of four straight days without power since Sunday.

It wasn't welcome news Local 707 Q, where Rob Sereni fired up his generator, then the grill, and stacked burgers in the dark.

"We're in desperate spirits, right now. It's knocking us down a little bit. We're struggling."

WATCH: Here's how some North Bay residents were prepared for the PSPS

Some Mill Valley residents say they feel more prepared for the PG&E PSPS outages this year than they did last year.

Some North Bay residents have been without power since Sunday evening, but some in Mill Valley say they feel more prepared this year than they did last year.

In downtown Mill Valley, a generator turned on at Equator Coffee as baristas worked in the dark during the morning rush.

Mill Valley Market lost power at 7:30 p.m. Sunday evening but generators kicked in right away. "We'll definitely sell out of ice today. We sold almost all of it -- we have some frozen gallons of water we're selling that as well," said co-owner Ryan Canepa.

A power strip is set up outside the store for anyone that that needs a charge. "I think people are more prepared. And then also they're saying it's only going to be a day, so last time it was five days, so it was a lot harder for everybody," Canepa said.

By Monday afternoon, PG&E reported all clears in portions of downtown Guernville, Forestville, and Fort Ross.

"We got floods, we got fires. We got them all and the Good Lord expects us to deal with them," said Shelly Allen of Guerneville. "What's next? A quake?"

Loren and Kate Moore have lived in the area for 37 years. They avoided going to Sunday's farmers market so they wouldn't stock up on food they might lose. "We've gone through this once and then going through it again it's like we've got experience with this," Loren Moore said. "We kind of know what to do, we're probably not going to lose a whole refrigerator worth of food like we did last time," Kate Moore said.

They said PG&E called them twice to alert them their power would be shut off for a day. But it's still a challenge for others. "Our daughter who teaches is supposed to be doing zoom classes but she can't because the kids- the students don't have power," Kate Moore said.

Kate Moore said she feels these PSPS are necessary. "Since 2017, fire danger has gone so high and the season is so long and it seems necessary to take precautions," Kate Moore said.

In Sonoma County, Kenwood School District will be closed on Monday, Oct. 26 due to the PSPS and more updates on school closures can be found here.

East Bay

In the East Bay, tree trimmers have been working non-stop responding to an uptick of emergency calls.

Crews in Alameda County put out a wildfire along eastbound I-580 in Castro Valley right before Eden Canyon. The Alameda County Fire Department says heavy brush caught fire around 12:45 a.m.

Winds overnight hit the East Bay city of San Leandro hard, with 14th street littered with tree limbs Monday morning.

"At 7:00 this morning, we knew we had 20 to 30 trees that were down. That number keeps rising as we continue to get calls from residents and businesses," said Debbie Pollart, the Director of Public Works in San Leandro.

WATCH: 60-foot tree uprooted by 60 mph winds in Oakland

Strong winds are leaving behind fallen trees and thousands of dollars in repairs. In the East Bay, tree trimmers have been working non-stop responding to an uptick of emergency calls.

"When I got up I heard cracking, loud cracking and then boom," said Oakland Resident, Sandra Gallegos.

David Mendivil and Sandra Gallegos don't know each other but Mother Nature chose them and their trees to show off its power. David and his wife Kyra awoke to their 60 foot tall tree uprooted and leaning over with the roots coming out of the ground.

Julian Cabrera Ramirez, owner of "Julian Tree Care Incorporated" responded to the Mendivil's call and says their tree could've been "three minutes, an hour or a day" from falling.

"The tree was dangerous, it was a ticking bomb. It was ready to head over four apartments in the back of the house. That's why we put in the first priority for tree removal," said Ramirez.

RELATED: Coolest lows of the season to send chill over Bay Area this week as fire danger decreases

Julian Tree Care Inc. has four crews responding to emergency trimming calls across the Bay Area and they say they've been swamped. His message to anyone with trees, "Please have your trees inspected and looked at by an arborist" before it's too late.

The district says if the power does go out at the homes of these students, they can do their work offline and report it back to their teacher the first chance they get.

You can read the full advisory and check for the most current updates here.

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