As its Public Safety Power Shutoffs affected parts of the Tri-Valley into Thursday, PG&E officials left residents in the dark in more ways than one.
After a series of delays that left residents and city officials unsure of where, when or even if the power outages would take effect in the Tri-Valley, late on Wednesday night outages hit isolated areas in southern Pleasanton and sections in western San Ramon that continued into Thursday.
These outages were open-ended, with PG&E reportedly waiting out windy weather in Northern and Central California. San Ramon officials reported all power was restored within the city limits as of mid-evening. Pleasanton city officials reported on Friday morning that all power had been restored there.
On its website, the utility company called the move, “a precautionary measure to reduce wildfire risk during the forecasted severe wind event.”
A lack of precise information stemming from PG&E officials combined with the company’s website being unavailable for multiple days -- although as of press time Thursday www.pge.com was operational -- has left some city officials concerned at their own struggles to provide updates to their community.
“Here is the best update we can give at this point: We don’t know what is going to happen tonight. PG&E doesn’t know, we don’t know, nor does anyone in the East Bay,” San Ramon police Capt. Denton Carlson tweeted Wednesday night. “What we do know is this, we understand your frustration, we feel it as well. When we know, you will know.”
Shutoffs in portions of the Tri-Valley were originally announced to begin taking effect around 1 p.m. Wednesday, but PG&E initially announced a delay until 8 p.m. due to changing weather conditions. Shutoff times were again pushed to 10 p.m. and did not actually take effect until after 11 p.m.
Poking fun at the lack of up-to-date information coming from the utility company, the Pleasanton Police Department went viral for a social media post characterizing the situation. The post read “PG&E says prepare for power shutdowns in select areas in California marked in red,” followed by a picture of the entire state covered in red marker.
The post was shared more than 43,000 times on Facebook and was featured in national publications such as the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times.
PG&E has since updated its website, www.critweb-outage.pgealerts.com that provides residents with an updated map of areas that have been affected by the outages, a map that as of Thursday afternoon is operational.
According to PG&E as of Thursday morning, outages affected Pleasanton residents in isolated areas along Foothill and Pleasanton Sunol Road south of Castlewood Drive starting around Oak Lane, as well as Castlewood and Kilkare Woods.
In San Ramon the western portions of the city were impacted, particularly along Crow Canyon Road west of Deerwood Road -- although some sections of Deerwood Road may also be affected according to PG&E.
The San Ramon Police Department headquarters had been left without power, but SRPD officials reassured residents that the San Ramon Valley 911 Communications Center will be operating on backup generators.
Carlson reported on Twitter around 7 p.m. Thursday that all power was restored within the city.
Large swaths of San Ramon briefly lost power late on Wednesday night leaving more than 126,000 without power according to city officials, however PG&E crews were able to restart power after approximately half an hour.
Both the Pleasanton Unified School District and San Ramon Valley Unified School District did not report any outages during school hours and have stated that schools will remain open as scheduled.
Community resource centers were opened during the shutoffs for Alameda County residents to charge their devices, access WiFi and learn about the outages at Merritt College Lot B on Leona Street in Oakland. Contra Costa County residents could visit the Bishop Ranch parking lot in San Ramon at 2600 Camino Ramon to access their community resource.
The Pleasanton Public Library also opened its doors as a community resource center for impacted residents to charge devices during normal operating hours.
Residents can access more info at www.pgecurrents.com or www.pgealerts.com. PG&E also continues to post updates on their Twitter account @PGE4Me. A Twitter account is not needed to view their messages.