9 p.m. UPDATE: PG&E announced on Tuesday night it had restored power to all of the customers affected by its planned outage over high winds.
The news comes two days after the utility cut power to residents over fears that high winds and power lines could spark fires like the one that ravaged Santa Rosa just over a year ago.
The utility says it warned customers ahead of time, but some have described getting phone calls as little as 15 minutes before the lights went out.
It’s the first time PG&E has conducted a planned power outage like this.
EL DORADO COUNTY (CBS13) — Frustration mounted in the Sierra foothills Tuesday, as thousands of PG&E customers remained without power.
PG&E cut the power to 59,000 customers on Sunday night amid fears of high winds that could spark wildfires like the one that ravaged Santa Rosa just over a year ago.
As of Tuesday evening, after nearly two days of outages, 1,602 customers are still without power
- Calaveras County – 1,166
- El Dorado County – 399
- Lake County – 34
- Amador County – 2
- Placer County – 1
Many residents wanted to know why they weren’t told it would take so long to turn the lights back on, and why they couldn’t turn the power back on as soon as the weather cleared.
“We are aware and we certainly appreciate our customers
understanding as we work to safely restore their power,” said PG&E Spokeswoman Brandi Merlo.
Merlo says it’s not as easy as it seems. Workers can’t just flip a switch and turn the power back on to all 59,000 customers that PG&E cut the power to.
“Once we turn the power off we have to wait for the weather to clear for us to safely patrol our lines,” she said.
But one man who preferred to stay anonymous said the weather did clear in his Placer County community, yet his family still went three days without power or running water.
“We have well water, so when somebody does something like it’s a crime because we don’t have no water to take a shower no water to cook,” he said.
Paul Flanders got the alert but said, “they left out when it was going to turn back on.”
“We started notifying people in June- in extreme fire areas – of this potential for shut off- 48 hours in advance. We also let people know that they could expect an outage for up to two to five days… depending upon weather situation,” Merlo said.
Customers have complained about oxygen tanks shutting down, generators selling out, and food spoiling. PG&E says it doesn’t plan to reimburse customers for their losses. Merlo said, “In this situation, we did let customers know 48 hours in advance that we’d potentially shut off and because we did this for safety we will not be reimbursing customers.”