EDITORS: Please do not use
"Pacific Gas and Electric" or "PG&E" when
referring to PG&E Corporation or its National Energy Group.
The PG&E National Energy Group is not the same company as Pacific
Gas and Electric Company, the utility, and is not regulated by the
California Public Utilities Commission. Customers of Pacific Gas
and Electric Company do not have to buy products or services from
the National Energy Group in order to continue to receive quality
regulated services from Pacific Gas and Electric Company.
A POWER OUTAGE
A Behind the Scenes Look
at How Electricity is Restored
SAN FRANCISCO - Whether
it's a winter storm that knocks out power to thousands of customers
throughout the state, or a localized situation where a car hits
a utility pole causing an outage to 20 homes, Pacific Gas and Electric
Company responds rapidly to get the lights back on.
A behind the scenes look
at what it takes to restore power quickly and safely shows the key
to success is a combination of experienced utility workers utilizing
the latest technology. The process begins when a customer calls
Pacific Gas and Electric Company at 1-800-PGE-5000 to report an
Once an outage has been
identified, our state-of-the-art call center computers automatically
give subsequent callers in the same area the status of the restoration
efforts. The system can even generate callbacks to customers to
give updates as the work progresses.
After a customer reports
an outage, the company deploys an electric troubleman to the scene
to determine the cause and decide how best to restore power.
The troubleman-the name
is a throwback to an era when only men performed the work-can often
do the necessary repair work on the spot by removing a broken tree
limb from electric lines, re-setting fuses, closing switches or
performing repairs to other equipment.
While no two power outages
are identical and severe storms may impact response time, a typical
scenario unfolds in the timeline below:
12:00 a.m.: A customer
calls 1-800-743-5000 to report no power at her home.
12:05 a.m.: An
outage notification is generated from one of PG&E's call centers
and is automatically sent to the local dispatcher. The dispatcher
immediately calls the Troubleman at home and he or she is awakened
to begin the day.
12:30 a.m.: En
route to the outage area, the Troubleman is in communication with
the dispatcher to determine the exact location of the outage using
maps and equipment numbers as a reference.
12:50 a.m.: The
Troubleman arrives at the affected area and begins visually patrolling
the electric circuit to find the problem. The cause is a downed
line caused by a fallen tree. A total of 200 customers are without
1:00 a.m.: The
Troubleman makes sure the downed electric line is safely de-energized
(no electricity flowing through it) and requests an electric crew
be dispatched to perform repairs.
1:05 a.m.: Headquarters
updates the call center computers and contacts each member of
an electric crew by home phone calls.
1:30 a.m.: The
Troubleman restores electric service to as many customers as possible
by re-routing electricity from other sources.
2:00 a.m.: Of the
200 customers originally without power, 160 have had their electricity
restored be re-routing power from other sources. The remaining
40 customers who live closest to the downed wire cannot be immediately
restored until repairs are made.
2:30 a.m.: The
electric crew assembles at the local yard, gathers the appropriate
materials and equipment and heads to the outage location. Once
on scene, the crew begins to safely make the necessary repairs.
4:45 a.m.: The
repairs to the tree-damaged wire are completed and the final 40
customers have their power turned back on. The electric crew advises
headquarters of the completed repairs. Headquarters then updates
the call center computers.
5:00 a.m.: The
electric crew returns to the yard and prepares for a day of regular