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15,000 without power in East Bay as storm rolls on

PG&E recommends people use flashlights, not candles during outages

Stormy weather has left 56,000 PG&E customers in the Bay Area without power this morning, a utility spokeswoman said.

Nearly half of those outages are on the Peninsula, where 25,000 customers are affected, PG&E spokeswoman Tamar Sarkissian said. Another

15,000 outages are reported in the East Bay, 14,500 in the South Bay, 1,500 in the North Bay and 150 in San Francisco, she said.

PG&E expects storms to continue affecting service throughout the week, Sarkissian said. "We have been preparing for this and we have all hands on deck."

The region's coastal and wooded areas pose the biggest challenge for repair crews because of high winds and the concentration of trees, she said.

She estimated that outages are affecting 96,000 customers in PG&E's entire service area, which stretches from Eureka to Bakersfield.

PG&E advises those affected to use battery operated flashlights rather than candles, which are a fire hazard, Sarkissian said.

Another tip is to freeze several large plastic bottles of water, she said. That way, if power goes out, residents can use the frozen water bottles to keep temperatures cool inside their refrigerators and freezers so food doesn't spoil.

Anyone who sees a downed power line should call 911. Otherwise, outages can be reported to (800) 743-5002.

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