Category Archives: PG&E

PG&E Activates Emergency Operations Centers to Support Carr Fire Response

PG&E press release dated July 27, 2018:

SAN FRANCISCO— Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) today activated multiple emergency operations centers to support the emergency response to the Carr Fire burning in Shasta County. PG&E’s first priority is the safety of customers, employees, contractors and the communities it serves.

PG&E is supporting first responders and local agencies, monitoring its gas and electric infrastructure, and providing mutual assistance to Redding Electric Utility, which provides electricity to approximately 44,000 customers in the City of Redding. To support response efforts, PG&E has activated its Emergency Operations Center at its San Francisco headquarters, its Gas Emergency Center in San Ramon, as well as a local support center near the wildfire.

Additionally, PG&E’s new Wildfire Safety Operations Center is fully staffed and continues to monitor active fires as well as other potential fire threats and weather conditions across PG&E’s service area in real time.

At the request of Cal Fire, PG&E has turned off power to some electric customers located outside the City of Redding as an emergency measure to support safety and firefighting efforts. To date, PG&E has turned off gas service for safety to approximately 500 customers, also at the request of Cal Fire. This count of gas customers impacted is expected to grow.

PG&E has a plan to deal with these situations and wants customers to be prepared and have plans, too, in the event of an electric or gas outage. Once in safe location, PG&E asks customers to take 5 minutes and update their contact info at www.pge.com/mywildfirealerts so they can be reached if necessary. Customers should call 911 or PG&E at 1-800-743-5000 to report a downed power line or if they smell gas.

In March, PG&E launched its Community Wildfire Safety Program to implement additional precautionary measures intended to reduce the risk of wildfire threats and strengthen communities for the future. In addition to establishing its new Wildfire Safety Operations Center, PG&E:

  • Added more than 50 new weather stations – with a total of around 200 planned in 2018 – to provide improved awareness of fire danger conditions and better predict where a wildfire could occur.
  • Enhanced vegetation management in high fire-threat areas to meet new state vegetation and fire safety standards and create safe space between trees, limbs and power lines.
  • Alerted more than 570,000 homes and businesses served by electric lines in extreme-fire threat areas that PG&E may have to shut off power for public safety if extreme fire danger conditions occur, as a last resort.

 

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PG&E Urges Safety During High Whitewater Flows on Pit 5 Reach

REDDING, Calif. — Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will provide high whitewater flows on the Pit 5 Reach of the Pit River in eastern Shasta County over two weekends, the company announced today.

A kayaker navigates the Pit 5 Reach of the Pit River during high whitewater flows in 2014. Photo by Jeff Cook of Spring Rivers Ecological Sciences, LLC.

The higher flows will occur on August 11-12 and September 8-9. Those recreating in or near this portion of the river are encouraged to use extra caution during the increased flows. This portion of the river contains Class III, IV and V rapids, which are appropriate only for skilled paddlers. The reach is not appropriate for tubing.

The Pit 5 Reach is the 9.3-mile portion of the Pit River that extends from PG&E’s Pit 5 Dam and the J.B. Black Powerhouse near Big Bend.

Prior to the increase for August 11-12, flows in the Pit 5 Reach will be about 450 cubic feet per second (cfs).  On early Saturday morning PG&E will gradually increase water flows until it reaches 1,500 cfs, before 10 a.m. The flows will be held at this level until about 4 p.m. that day when flows will gradually be reduced to 600 cfs.

The higher flows will be repeated the next day at the same times, then, after 4 pm, gradually decreased to the normal flow of about 450 cfs.

On the weekend of September 8-9, PG&E will increase flows to 1,200 cfs on both days. As with the previous releases, if needed, starting early in the morning the flows will gradually be increased to the target level by 10 a.m. and then after 4 p.m. gradually decreased to more normal flow levels. But starting September 5, flows in the Pit 5 Reach will already be in the 1,000 to 1,500 cfs range in September due to a planned maintenance outage at the Pit 5 Powerhouse, and will remain above their seasonal normal until November when maintenance finishes.

The whitewater flows are a requirement of PG&E’s license conditions for the Pit 3, 4, and 5 Hydroelectric Project.

Due to the potential for wild fires in the region, higher flow dates are subject to change. PG&E recommends verifying the dates via the PG&E recreation website www.pge.com/recreation/.

PG&E offers the following water safety tips:

  • Sudden immersion in cold water can stimulate the “gasp reflex,” causing an involuntary inhalation of air or water. It can even trigger cardiac arrest, temporary paralysis, hypothermia and drowning. When faced with swift water, even the strongest swimmers may be easily overwhelmed.
  • Many unseen obstacles can be lurking below the water’s surface. Swift water can make these obstacles even more treacherous. Guided trips for inexperienced paddlers are recommended.
  • Recreating in PG&E canals and flumes is strictly prohibited. Stay out of canals and flumes, which are very dangerous due to slippery sides, sub-surface obstacles, fast moving water, and transitions to full tunnels and pipes.

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 energy companies in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 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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PG&E Flying Low in Shasta, Tehama, Lassen, Trinity to Inspect for Dead Trees

REDDING, Calif.—As part of its ongoing response to California’s tree mortality crisis, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will conduct aerial patrols in Shasta, Tehama, Lassen and Trinity counties on June 12 and 13 to identify dead trees that could pose a wildfire or other public safety risk.

Five years of drought and bark beetle infestation in California have caused millions of trees to die or become structurally compromised. We’ve made significant progress to help reduce wildfire risk by removing dead and dying trees and we’re not slowing down. We will continue this critical safety work in 2018, Carl Schoenhofer, PG&E’s senior manager of PG&E’s North Valley Division.

Every year, PG&E inspects and monitors every overhead electric transmission and distribution line, either on foot or by air, with some locations patrolled multiple times. Since the tree mortality crisis began, the energy company has increased foot and aerial patrols in high fire-risk areas to twice a year and up to four times a year in some locations. In 2018, PG&E expects to patrol over half of its overhead distribution lines at least two times.

PG&E is using a contract helicopter service to fly foresters over the area to inspect trees. Patrolling by air allows the company to cover many miles quickly and efficiently, and reduces impacts on the ground. Residents are advised that the helicopter will fly low – at about 200 to 300 feet above the ground – along distribution power lines, and higher in areas where livestock are present.

On June 12, flights will occur over the Shasta County communities of Fall River Mills, McArthur, Cassel, Hat Creek and Old Station. Flights will also occur over the Lassen County communities of Nubieber and Bieber.

On June 13, flights will occur over the Tehama County communities of Manton, Paynes Creek, Dales, Mineral, Mill Creek, Lyonsville and Platina, as well as Shingletown in Shasta County and Wildwood in Trinity County.

Depending on clear weather conditions, flights will occur between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

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 energy companies in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 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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Higher Flows Below Pit 5 Dam Through June 6

Water flows are higher than seasonally normal along the Pit River below the Pit 5 Dam, and are expected to remain that way through about June 6, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) announced today.

Nothing is more important to PG&E than the safety of the public and its employees. That’s why PG&E is urging those recreating in or near the river are encouraged to use extra caution during the increased flows. Water flows are ranging from 1,500 to 2,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) along the Pit 5 Reach, which is the 9.3-mile stretch of the Pit River between the Pit 5 Dam and the Pit 5 powerhouse near Big Bend. These flows are like those found during whitewater recreational flows in August.

With two of four generators at the powerhouse currently not producing power, less water is being diverted by tunnel from the Pit 5 Reservoir to the powerhouse, so more water is flowing past the dam. Recent high-country rains have also increased flows.

Normal flows for June range from 350 to 550 cfs.      

PG&E expects to have all four generators operating in early June, at which point flows on the Pit 5 Reach should return to normal seasonal flows.  

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PG&E Flying Low in Shasta County to Inspect for Dead Trees

REDDING, Calif.—As part of its response to California’s tree mortality crisis, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will conduct low-altitude aerial patrols in eastern Shasta County on Wednesday, December 6 to identify dead trees that could pose a wildfire or other public safety risk.

Flights will occur over and near the communities of Round Mountain and Montgomery Creek. Depending on weather conditions, flights will occur between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Even with the wet winter last year and recent storms, five years of drought in California have caused millions of trees to die or become structurally compromised. That’s why we’ve added enhanced measures to help keep the communities we serve safe,” said Carl Schoenhofer, senior manager of PG&E’s North Valley division.

Every year, PG&E inspects and monitors every overhead electric transmission and distribution line, with some locations patrolled multiple times. Since the tree mortality crisis began, the energy company has increased foot and aerial patrols in high fire-risk areas to twice a year and up to four times a year in some locations. Last year, PG&E conducted secondary patrols on 61 percent of power lines, and in 2017, expects to patrol 65 percent of lines a second time.

PG&E is using a local contract helicopter service to fly foresters over the area to inspect trees. Patrolling by air allows the company to cover many miles quickly and efficiently, and reduces impacts on the ground. Residents are advised that the helicopter will fly low – about 200 to 300 feet – along distribution power lines, and higher in areas where livestock are present.

If patrols identify dead trees, PG&E will send inspectors on foot to verify a tree is dead, and then contact the home or land owner to schedule tree work.

 

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PG&E Donates Swamp Parcel, Ensuring Permanent Conservation of Wetland Habitat

By Paul Moreno

PG&E has donated a large tract of land in the McArthur Swamp under an agreement with conservation groups designed to ensure the parcel will be preserved in perpetuity.

For decades, PG&E has maintained the land in eastern Shasta County to provide both a seasonal wetland habitat and land for cattle grazing in dry seasons.

The parcel of land PG&E donated also supports the local farming economy and provides for recreational uses.

Left largely in its natural state, the 4,491-acre parcel is part of an important feeding and resting spot for ducks and geese along the Pacific Flyway.  The land also supports the local farming economy and provides for waterfowl hunting and other recreational uses including boating in adjacent rivers.

On Oct.18, ownership of the land transferred from PG&E to the Fall River Resource Conservation District. The mission of the California special district is to support private and public landowners in the use and management of natural resources that will ensure the sustained highest economic, social, and environmental benefits of these resources. The transfer was immediately followed by conveyance of a conservation easement ensuring permanent protection of the land to Ducks Unlimited.

“We look forward to working with our partners and the community to continue the good stewardship of the McArthur Swamp exemplified by PG&E and the McArthur Resource Management Association,“ said Mike Millington, a board member of the conservation district.

The land, fed largely by alluvial springs to form the Tule River and Fall River, is located within the ancestral territory of the Ajumawi Band of the Pit River Tribe.

“We are pleased that the McArthur Swamp will be preserved in perpetuity while continuing to provide important environmental and local economic benefits. The cumulative work of the involved partners will ensure this land will be protected and enjoyed for generations to come,” said Mike Schonherr, a director at PG&E who oversees the company’s implementation of the land conservation commitment.

The 4,491-acre parcel is part of an important feeding and resting spot for ducks and geese along the Pacific Flyway.

The Fall River Valley region provides a major wetland linkage for migratory birds between the Klamath Basin and Oregon Closed Basin to the north and wintering grounds in the Central Valley to the south.

“We are very excited that this important habitat conservation project is finally coming to fruition,” said John Ranlett, Duck’s Unlimited’s regional biologist who has been involved in the project for over five years.

The donation is part of PG&E’s land conservation commitment, in fulfillment of an agreement in PG&E’s 2003 bankruptcy settlement that the company will permanently protect all 140,000 acres of its hydro watershed lands. These properties have been kept mostly in their natural state under PG&E’s ownership.

To complete the donation, PG&E worked with the Pacific Forest and Watershed Lands Stewardship Council, the organization established in the settlement to oversee completion of the land conservation commitment.

“We are pleased to support the Fall River RCD and DU in the protection of the many beneficial public values of the McArthur Swamp property,” said Art Baggett, Stewardship Council board president.

PG&E will retain ownership of an additional 3,168 acres at McArthur Swamp for hydropower generation, which will also be protected through a conservation easement held by Ducks Unlimited.  This includes a nearly 500-acre parcel that PG&E restored to a seasonal wetland in 2012.

In fulfillment of the land conservation commitment, PG&E lands have been donated to entities including the U.S. Forest Service, local governments and the University of California, Berkeley. PG&E is retaining the watershed lands necessary for hydropower operations.

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Higher Flows Being Reduced on Portion of Pit River

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has begun reducing higher flows on a portion of the Pit River, and will reduce again to seasonal normal flows in late October.

Flows had been above 2,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) in the Pit 5 Reach since February while the Pit 5 Powerhouse near Big Bend has been off line. The powerhouse was unable to operate after winter storms deposited gravel and sand in front of the powerhouse’s tailrace, where water exits the powerhouse and returns to the river.

The Pit 5 Reach is the 9.3-mile portion of the Pit River between the Pit 5 Reservoir and the Pit 5 Powerhouse.

Flows in the Pit 5 Reach were reduced from above 2,000 cfs to about 1,300 cfs after one of the four generating units at the powerhouse resumed operation on October 5.  PG&E continues to remove sediment from in front of the tailrace so it can resume operation to the other three generating units at the Pit 5 Powerhouse.

In late October, PG&E expects to resume operations on a second generating unit at the powerhouse, at which point water will stop spilling from the Pit 5 Dam and flows in the Pit 5 Reach will return to about the season normal of about 350 cfs, depending on rainy conditions.

The other two generating units are expected to return to service in late fall.

The Pit 5 Powerhouse Road and the J.B. Black Powerhouse Recreation Area’s boat put-in, take-out remain closed to the public while the Pit 5 Powerhouse Road is repaired. The road was damaged in last winter’s storms should reopen in late fall.

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