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PG&E Continues Earthquake Restoration; Extensive Focus on Ensuring Gas Safety

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is continuing to restore electric and gas service following an early morning 6.0 magnitude earthquake in Napa County and is making plans for additional actions in the days ahead to ensure customer safety.

Gas Service

PG&E proactively lowered the operating pressure of its Sonoma/Napa transmission pipeline system and conducted two patrols of the transmission system to ensure its integrity. The company is also conducting extensive sweeps of the involved communities using state-of-the-art leak detection vehicles to assess for distribution line leaks. Any leaks that are identified will be repaired immediately by onsite crews.

The company received 439 gas odor calls from customers and has visited the premises of approximately 400 so far. The remaining customers will be completed this evening. There were only 20 customer-level earthquake-related gas outages. These resulted from damaged customer facilities and will be restored when they can safely take service.

Beginning tomorrow, PG&E will proactively conduct courtesy gas safety checks at homes and businesses across the impacted area. These will continue over several days. Any customer who is not contacted can request one at 1-800-743-5002.

"We're committed to doing whatever it takes to ensure the safety of our system and the well-being of our customers and the communities we serve. I want our customers to know they can count on us," said Chris Johns, president of Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

PG&E will continue to provide customers with as much information as possible about earthquake recovery efforts through our call center and website, as well as news and social media channels. For updates on outages, customers can call PG&E's automated information line at 1-800-743-5000, or access a live outage map at www.pge.com/outagemap. PG&E will also relay information through its own news website, at www.pgecurrents.com; via Twitter, at www.twitter.com/pge4me; and on the company's Facebook page, at www.facebook.com/pacificgasandelectric.

Electric Service

PG&E experienced a peak electrical outage count of approximately 70,000 customers. The company has already restored service to 62,700 customers. Service has been essentially restored for all originally impacted customers in Sonoma County. In the more heavily impacted Napa County, PG&E expects to restore service today to the majority of the remaining 7,300 customers whose homes or businesses aren't damaged and can accept restoration. The company expects that some outages may require additional time to restore and in these cases will be communicating directly with customers whose repairs may take longer. Outage updates are available at www.pge.com/outagemap.

Customer Safety Tips

If you smell gas or are experiencing another electric or gas service emergency as a result of this earthquake, please call 1-800-743-5002 immediately. 

PG&E offers the following natural gas safety tips:

  1. Check for building damage. If you smell or hear escaping gas, get everyone outside. Find a phone away from the building to call 911, PG&E (1-800-743-5002) and the fire department immediately.
  2. If you smell or hear gas escaping, and are able to do so safely, shut off the gas at the main service valve using a 12- to 15-inch adjustable pipe or crescent-type wrench or other suitable tool. The valve is normally located near your gas meter.
  3. Once you shut off the gas, do not turn it back on. Contact PG&E or another qualified professional to perform a safety inspection before gas service is restored and appliance pilots are lit.
  4. If you suspect a gas leak, do not use electrical switches, appliances, telephones or anything with an open flame, because sparks can ignite gas from broken lines.
  5. Customers without gas service are asked to stay as close to home as possible so that service can be restored when a PG&E representative arrives. If no one is at home, the representative will leave a notice with a number that customers can call to schedule a return visit.

If the earthquake has caused downed power lines or an outage, PG&E offers the following safety tips:

  1. If you see a downed power line, assume it is "live" or carrying electric current. Do not touch or try to move it—and keep children and animals away. Report downed power lines immediately by calling 911 and by calling PG&E at 1-800-743-5002.
  2. Do not use candles because of the risk of fire. If you must use candles, use extreme caution. Do not use candles near drapes or under lampshades. Keep candles away from small children and do not leave candles unattended.
  3. If your power goes out, turn off or unplug all electric appliances; otherwise, several appliances may come back on at once and overload your circuits when power is restored. Hot appliances also pose a fire hazard if they come back on while you're away or asleep. 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.
  4. Have battery-operated radios with fresh batteries ready for updates on earthquake response and power outages.
  5. Have battery-operated flashlights with fresh batteries on hand.
  6. Have a cell phone or hard-wire, single-line telephone on hand. Cordless phones will not work without electricity.
  7. Fill used liter-size plastic soda bottles with water and place them in the freezer. During an extended outage, transfer them to your refrigerator to prevent food from spoiling. Open the refrigerator only when necessary to keep warm air out and cooler air in.
  8. If you have a generator, inform PG&E and do not use it unless it is installed safely and properly. If it is not, you risk damaging your property and endangering yourself and PG&E line workers who may be working on nearby power lines. Information on the safe installation of generators can be found on our website at www.pge.com/generator.

About PG&E

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 http://www.pge.com/about/newsroom/.


SOURCE Pacific Gas and Electric Company

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