As another spring storm is expected to bring winter-like weather throughout much of PG&E’s service territory this week, the utility is urging its customers and their families to stay safe and have a plan. The wet and cold weather system is forecast to bring cooler temperatures, rain, mountain snow and breezy winds in some areas for much of the week.
If storm-related power outages occur, PG&E wants customers to know the COVID-19 situation won’t affect the company’s response. PG&E crews will work around-the-clock to restore power to customers.
Amid the statewide COVID-19 stay-at-home order, PG&E also reminds customers to use heating appliances safely. The company urges customers to be cautious when using appliances or fireplaces to heat their homes. Space heaters and other electric or gas heating appliances can be a fire hazard when not safely used or closely attended. Also, gas furnaces, gas-operated generators, stoves and water heaters can increase the risk of exposure to carbon monoxide if they have not been checked to ensure they are working properly.
PG&E urges customers to focus on safely heating their homes as temperatures dip and offers the following tips:
• Place space heaters on level, hard, nonflammable surfaces, not on rugs or carpets.
• Don’t put objects on space heaters or use them to dry clothes or shoes.
• Turn off space heaters when leaving the room or going to sleep.
• Keep all flammable materials at least three feet away from heating sources and supervise children when a space heater or fireplace is being used.
• Never use cooking devices such as ovens or stoves for home heating purposes.
• Install carbon monoxide detectors to warn you if concentration levels are high. Make sure they are installed near sleeping areas and replace the batteries at least twice a year.
• When using the fireplace to stay warm, make sure the flue is open so that the byproducts of combustion can vent safely through the chimney.
• Never use products inside the home that generate dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, such as generators, barbecues, propane heaters and charcoal.
PG&E also reminds customers to follow these storm safety tips:
• If you see a downed power line, assume it is energized and extremely dangerous. Do not touch or try to move it. Call 9-1-1 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, keep them away from drapes, lampshades 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.
• For the latest information on power restoration, customers can call PG&E’s outage information line at 1-800-743-5002. Updates are also available through the Electric Outage Map online. Customers can also log-in to their account and sign up to receive outage alerts through email, text or phone. Visit www.pge.com/stormsafety for more information.