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 January 7, 2016 - 4:00 PM EST
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As First El Niño-driven Storms Arrive, PG&E Urges Customers to Stay Safe and Be Prepared

The arrival of the new year means that winter storm season has come for Northern and Central California. Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) meteorologists forecast that our weather will be influenced by a very strong El Niño-effect over the next few months. That means that we’ll potentially see more and wetter storms.

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And just as PG&E is prepared and has a plan to deal with severe weather, the company urges our customers to be prepared for wet weather and the possibility of power outages caused by wind, heavy rain and snow.

Customers are asked to heed these safety and outage-preparation tips:

  • Always treat low hanging and downed power lines as if they are energized and extremely dangerous. Keep yourself and others away from them. Be aware of trees, pools of water and other objects that may be in contact with power lines. If you see damaged power lines or electrical equipment, call 911 immediately and then notify PG&E at 1-800-743-5002.
  • If your vehicle comes in contact with a downed power line, stay inside. The safest place is in your car. The ground around your car might be energized. Honk the horn, roll down your window and yell for help. Warn others to stay away. Anyone who touches the equipment or ground around the vehicle might be injured. Use your mobile phone to call 911. Fire department, police and PG&E workers will tell you when it is safe to get out of the vehicle.
  • If there is a fire and you have to exit a vehicle that has come in contact with downed power lines: Remove loose items of clothing. Keep your hands at your sides and jump clear of the vehicle, so you are not touching the car when your feet hit the ground. Keep both feet close together and shuffle away from the vehicle without picking up your feet.
  • During a power outage, use battery-operated flashlights, not candles, due to the risk of fire. If you must use candles, keep them away from drapes, lampshades, holiday trees and small children. Do not leave candles unattended.
  • If you experience an outage, unplug or turn off all electrical appliances to avoid overloading circuits and to prevent fire hazards when power is restored. Simply leave a single lamp on to alert you when power returns. Turn your appliances back on one at a time when conditions return to normal.
  • Keep a charged cell phone or hard-wired, single-line telephone on hand. Cordless phones do not work without electricity. Consider purchasing a remote charger for your cell phone.
  • Protect sensitive electronic equipment such as televisions and computers with surge suppressors. Unplug this equipment if it was in use when the power went out.
  • Make sure you can manually (without power) open your automatic garage door or gate or park your vehicle outside.
  • Make sure food stays cold by keeping your refrigerator and freezer doors closed. You can keep the refrigerator cold by placing ice in plastic containers and keeping them inside. Also, a full freezer will remain colder longer
  • Customers with generators should make sure they are properly installed by a licensed electrician in a well-ventilated area. Inform PG&E if you have a generator, and do not use it unless you are sure it was installed safely and correctly. An incorrectly installed generator can damage your property and endanger you and PG&E's line workers who might be working on nearby power lines. You'll find information on the safe installation of generators at www.pge.com/generator.
  • Avoid driving into standing or flowing water caused by localized flooding. Hazards can lurk beneath the surface and flowing water can be extremely dangerous.

For the latest information on power restoration, customers can call PG&E’s outage information line at 1-800-743-5002. Updates are also available through a live outage map online at www.pge.com/outages.

About PG&E

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 23,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com and www.pge.com/en/about/newsroom/index.page.

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Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Matt Nauman, 415-973-5930


Source: Business Wire (January 7, 2016 - 4:00 PM EST)

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