The power has been restored to all California homes and businesses affected by Pacific Gas and Electric's blackout in public safety, officials said in a news release late Saturday, three days after the utility shut down power in 35 counties.
full restoration came five hours after the company held a news conference on Saturday afternoon to announce that all but 2,500 taxpayers were back online. The last connected customers were scattered throughout the Sierra foothills and the northern Sacramento Valley.
In all 738,000 customers intentionally taken offline by the aid company in the name of a "public safety power shutdown" due to the threat of extreme fire danger.
With high winds throughout the week, PG&E officials have stated that the blackouts ̵
PG&E reported 50 confirmed cases of damage or danger of power lines under windy conditions this week were found by the crews – tree branches on top of electrical wires in the counties of Napa and Glenn, electric wires fell and a wind swept bar lashed into dry brush in Shasta County.
"Any of these could potentially have resulted in ignition and the potential for a catastrophic wildfire" had not been powered by lines, said Sumeet Singh, vice president of the utility's Community Wildfire Safety Program.
There are another 100 locations of damage under assessment across the state that are also suspected to have been caused by high winds.
PG&E President Bill Johnson said access to the rural shutdown areas that remained Saturday was difficult, in some cases requiring the use of helicopters to fly in a new electric post to reconnect only one customer.
Johnson praised the company's ability to restore power for the vast majority of customers affected by the shutdowns within 48 hours of the winds dying and getting "all ready" to begin inspections, repairs and restorations.
"One of the main misconceptions was that we did this to save our own skin," Johnson said. “Categorically it is untrue. The only thing people in PG&E care about is the safety of others. ”
The beleaguered aid company filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, and has environmental financial obligations related to several devastating fires in 2017 and 2018 caused by electrical equipment failures.
Since then, the company has spent months on state trimming to trim, and spent hundreds of millions of dollars to cut tree branches and vegetation that could pose a threat to the power lines.