When the July 16 Ditwiler Fire roared through Hunter’s Valley, Cathys Valley, the Mt. Bullion area and towards the town of Mariposa, it destroyed hundreds of wooden power poles, electrical lines and transformers, leaving 11,000 customers without electricity.
PG&E began bringing in crews July 17 to restore electric service safely and as quickly as possible.
“First and foremost, PG&E is out here to make sure that first responders are safe and can focus on fighting the fire,” PG&E spokesperson Katie Allen said. “We also want our customers to be safe and that’s why we’re working to assess the impact on our lines and restore their electric service safely and as quickly as possible.” Our top priority is the safety and well being of the first responders, our customers, our crews and the general public.
The number dropped to 2,037 by July 22, as 220 PG&E employees and and additional 190 contract workers (mostly vegetation management crews), worked around the clock to restore power. The effort is being coordinated out of a base camp near the Mariposa-Yosemite Airport on Highway 49.
As of Saturday afternoon, there were about 2,037 customers who were without power, and by Sunday morning the number was 1,600. Many of these customers are in areas that have been evacuated.
“On Friday we installed generation to restore power to areas of Greeley Hill and Catheys Valley,” Allen said. “These areas are served by power lines damaged by the fire, but the electric infrastructure in the community is intact. Mobile generation is allowing vital public safety operations as well as local businesses to reopen.”
Allen said that as power is restored and people are allowed to return to their homes, PG&E wants customers to know they are there to help.
“We have additional employees in areas damaged by fire to respond and support repopulation and people are encouraged to call us with any questions or concerns regarding electric service at (800) 743-5000.
PG&E offers the following tips to keep you and your family safe when returning home:
☆ If there are electrical wires on the ground stay clear and immediately contact PG&E.
☆ If the electricity is off, make sure all appliances are off.
☆ If there is no damage to the building and the meter you may turn on the circuit breaker.
☆ Look at the electric meter. If there is any visible damage ‘do not’ attempt to turn the breaker on.
☆ Ensure generators are installed safely by a qualified professional and notify PG&E. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid injuring someone or damaging your generator or appliances. Never plug a generator directly into any electric outlets.
☆ Drive slowly. Watch for emergency and utility vehicles in the area.