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California utility says 99.5% of blackout customers have power again

Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks, The Sacramento Bee on

Published in News & Features

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Power has been restored to 99.5% homes and businesses California affected by Pacific Gas and Electric's public safety blackouts, officials said Saturday afternoon.

About 2,500 ratepayers are still without electricity Saturday afternoon, mainly in the Sierra foothills and northern Sacramento Valley, more than three days after the utility company had shutdown power in 35 counties.

As of 1 p.m. Saturday, power has been restored to roughly 735,000 customers after the utility company intentionally shutdown power for 738,000 customers starting Wednesday. With high winds through the week, PG&E officials have stated that the blackouts -- estimated to have affected 1.5 million Californians in total -- were necessary to prevent a power line failure from sparking a fire.

PG&E reported 50 confirmed cases of damage to power lines during the windy conditions this week. Vegetation, brush and tree branches touching deenergized power lines in Glenn, Shasta and Napa counties were found by crews.

"Any which of those could potentially have resulted in cause of ignition and potential of a catastrophic wildfire," said Sumeet Singh, Vice President of the utility company's Community Wildfire Safety Program.


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