Release Date: October 14, 2015
Contact: PG&E External Communications (415) 973-5930
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — With weather forecasts indicating the intensity of El Niño-driven storms will be strong this winter in California, PG&E has been getting ready – for the past 18 years.
The last major El Niño storm season in 1997-1998 dumped twice the normal rainfall on San Francisco, created widespread flooding and caused power outages impacting more than a million customers. PG&E has been preparing for storms like those by practicing for extreme-weather events and natural disasters; using advanced meteorology tools to forecast where storm impacts will be most significant; and adding innovative technology to its electrical grid.
New technology 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 5 million electric SmartMeters™. In addition, the increasingly smart grid means outages can be detected almost instantaneously and restoration, in many cases, can be done automatically.
"A combination of preparedness, practice and technology has PG&E ready to respond to winter storms. We put our focus on public safety and on efficiently responding to customer outages," said Barry Anderson, PG&E's vice president of Emergency Preparedness and Operations.
"With these advanced forecasting and outage-prediction tools, we can work with our electric crews to make sure we have the right numbers of people, vehicles and equipment in the right place at the right time as storms hit," said Mike Voss, PG&E's principal meteorologist.
These advances include:
PG&E's winter storm preparations are not limited to its electric operations. In advance of winter storm season, PG&E customers can call to get one of the company's Gas Service Representatives (GSRs) to do pilot relights and gas-appliance safety checks. Call 1-800-743-5000 to schedule an appointment.
PG&E's Gas operations also has been preparing in advance and taking measures to prevent the potential impact of flooding, erosion and landslides exacerbated by El Niño-driven storms. And at the Diablo Canyon Power Plant in San Luis Obispo County, the facility's severe-weather plan includes preparations for floods, mud slides and if roads become impassable.
And just as the company prepares for emergencies, PG&E also urges its customers to be ready for natural disasters. That includes creating a family emergency plan and creating emergency kits for your home, your office and your vehicle. PG&E offers emergency-preparation tips on its website. The ready.gov website offers additional preparedness tips.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation's cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/ and www.pge.com/en/about/newsroom/index.page.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States.