People Wait for Power to Return as PG&E Crews Inspect Miles of Lines

Update: By 4 p.m. Wednesday, PG&E says power was restored to customers in Napa, Placer, Plumas and Sonoma counties.

FORESTHILL -- Pacific Gas and Electric was warning Foresthill neighbors that it may take until Thursday before their power is restored because workers must inspect thousands of miles of power lines.

Mapping out a plan of action can be a daunting task for PG&E linemen, who must inspect nearly 2,800 miles of lines before restoring power.

Tyler Grant was on foot patrol in Foresthill looking for any damage done overnight.

“Tree branches that are broken or laying across the primary lines, the two silver ones, broken wire, or we call it a frayed conductor. For safety aspects of the customers and even the workers out here,” Grant said.

Once they give the all-clear, PG&E will start to reenergize lines one by one for more than 48,200 customers across Northern California who have been without power since early Wednesday morning.

By Wednesday night, the power in Foresthill was back on.

This is the second power shutoff this week to prevent power lines from sparking wildfires.

“Due to the dry conditions, the windy conditions and the hot temperatures that were forecasted for today,” said PG&E spokeswoman Brandi Merlo.

PG&E said it is working as quickly as possible to restore power, but a lot of the power lines are in remote areas that can take longer to get to.

“A lot of the areas where we can get a vehicle to we will. We’ll drive and do a slow pass through. We use helicopters; we patrol with helicopters. But when the canopy is as bad as this is you can’t see it from the air,” Grant said.

The only option left is to hike it on foot.

“It takes a little while longer but it’s the only way we can do it and it’s safer,” Grant explained.

Now PG&E is warning customers that many will be without power until Thursday. Crews cannot work through the night due to safety concerns.

Those in Sonoma and Napa counties could have their power back on by Wednesday night.

It was disappointing news for neighbor Rachel Hedburg.

“My son just got out of the hospital and he has asthma,” she explained. “He was in there for a bad lung infection. He needs breathing treatments every four hours.”

They have resorted to plugging his nebulizer in her car.

“It’s not just about the inconvenience, it’s about giving the care we need to our kids,” Hedburg said.

Neighbors hope the outages are an anomaly and not a sign of things to come.

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