Atmospheric river causes power outages throughout Alameda, Contra Costa County

photo of powerlines
Eran Kohen Behar /Staff
PG&E territory saw the most storm-related impact since 2009 this weekend, with nearly 3,000 of its customers facing power outrages.

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Nearly 9,000 PG&E customers in the Alameda and Contra Costa counties faced storm-related power outages this past weekend.

By Tuesday morning, the number of customers who were impacted by the outages was down to below 2,000, according to Tamar Sarkissian, PG&E spokesperson.

“This was one of the most powerful storms we have experienced in a very long time,” Sarkissian said in an email. “The record-breaking rain combined with strong winds produced the most storm-related impact seen in the PG&E territory in the month of October dating back to 2009, according to PG&E meteorologists.”

Sarkissian noted that PG&E has been pursuing an “all-hands-on-deck” storm response, with more than 3,000 workers assessing damages and making repairs to power lines. She added PG&E is working closely with county offices of emergency services.

PG&E uses a storm outage prediction model to estimate where outages will occur, allowing them to prepare emergency crews. Sarkissian noted the company has installed weather stations and uses devices to break up circuits, decreasing the scope of power outages. They’ve also installed coated power lines and more resilient poles.

“PG&E has been working to harden its system. While the focus is for wildfire safety, it also benefits customers during storms,” Sarkissian said in an email. “All these components benefit the company, both for wildfires and storms.”

It suggested customers who experienced power outages stay away from downed wires, keep backup phones, store fresh water and turn off appliances, according to the PG&E press release.

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