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American River Messenger

Winter Storms Wallop

Feb 04, 2021 12:00AM ● By MPG Staff Report

Storms knocked out electric power lines around the county such as this one on Sutter and Olive Lane, Carmichael, CA. Photo by Patrick Larenas

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) – The recent storms packed a real wallop to the Sacramento region. Both PG&E and SMUD were both scrambling to restore services to thousands of homes.

PG&E reports that crews have restored nearly all customers who lost electricity following a powerful “atmospheric river” weather system that battered the company’s service area with days of record-breaking rain, snow and wind.

About 98 percent of the nearly 944,000 customers who lost power during the storm had their power restored. The remainder of customers are primarily located in hard-hit areas where roads remain closed due to heavy snowfall, debris flows, or other damage. PG&E will continue to work to gain access to these customers and restore power as safely and as quickly as possible.

Since midnight on Tuesday, Jan. 26, through Saturday, Jan 30, more than 944,000 PG&E customers lost power due to heavy wind, rain and snow. PG&E found more than 1,500 instances of damaged infrastructure where equipment needs to be replaced or repaired, including 365 broken poles and 1,417 spans of wire.

At the peak of the restoration effort, more than 450 crews were working to assess and repair damage and restore power as safely and as quickly as possible for customers.

Based on 30 years of weather data, PG&E meteorologists describe January’s storm as the strongest since 2011 and say that it caused the highest two-day and three-day outage totals since 2010.

SMUD has been preparing for the winter storms rolling into the area with rainy and very windy conditions and sustained winds. They have a full-service Contact Center ready to answer customer calls reporting outages, while SMUD line repair crews, troubleshooters and other field personnel are ready to restore power to customers who may experience storm-related outages.

Here are some tips you can use to prepare for a stormy season: Prepare a simple emergency kit and store in an accessible place. Be sure to include a fully charged cell phone and/or laptop and battery banks; flashlights; battery operated clock; extra batteries; manual can opener; supply of bottled water; a battery-operated radio for news reports.

If the power goes out check to see if the lights are out in neighboring homes. If so, it’s likely a larger outage; Report the outage at; Call SMUD’s toll free outage line at 1-888-456-SMUD (7683)

If stormy weather knocks down a power line stay away and call SMUD at 1-888-456-SMUD (7683) or 911 immediately; Assume the line is “energized” and stay away and warn others to do the same; Do not remove fallen tree limbs or other debris from power lines. Tree limbs and other objects can conduct electricity that can shock anyone coming in contact with them.

SMUD prioritizes where crews will be sent during a storm: (1) Public safety hazards (power lines down, poles down); (2) Hospitals and critical flood control pumps; (3) Areas with large numbers of customers out of power; (4) Scattered, smaller outages.

Compiled from reports from PG&E and SMUD newsrooms