Updated 10:30 a.m. Thursday
As of early Thursday morning, PG&E had restored power to about 150,000 of the roughly 172,000 households and businesses in 22 counties affected by its latest round of public safety power shutoffs, the utility said.
Power had been fully restored by late Wednesday night to all affected customers in Sonoma County, as well as in Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Kern, Lake, Lassen, Mariposa, Nevada, Placer, Siskiyou, Tehama and Tuolumne counties.
Crews on Thursday morning continued to conduct inspections and restore power in areas where it was safe to do so in Butte, Humboldt, Napa, Plumas, Sierra, Trinity and Yuba counties, with the goal of restoring service to some 5,000 impacted customers in those areas by noon Thursday, the company said.
Electric service, however, had still not been restored to thousands of customers mainly in the northern Sierra foothills because of ongoing wildfire threats and heavy smoke, and would remain off until it was safe to resume inspections, PG&E said.
The utility on Monday night began shutting off power across a vast stretch of its service area in an effort to prevent its equipment from sparking wildfires amid hot, dry conditions and wind gusts of over 60 mph.
Many areas that lost power had also a been hit by a heat wave in recent days.
At daybreak Wednesday, as potentially hazardous weather conditions subsided, more than 3,000 PG&E workers began the process of inspecting by ground and helicopter the roughly 10,750 miles of transmission and distribution lines in the impacted areas before beginning to restore power.
The company said its goal was to restore power to nearly all impacted customers by Wednesday night.
“We want to reassure those customers who haven’t been restored yet that all hands are on deck to turn them back on, safely and as quickly as possible. Our goal is to have essentially all customers restored by tonight,” PG&E spokeswoman Tamar Sarkissian said in an email.
She noted, however, that power restoration may be delayed for some customers if crews find significant damage to lines from wind-blown tree branches and other debris, or if smoke from nearby wildfires prevents helicopters from making aerial line inspections.
Nearly early 18,000 businesses and households were hit by the shutoffs in Sonoma County — mostly in and around Santa Rosa — as well as 5,000 customers in Napa County, near Calistoga and St. Helena.