MOUNTAIN AREA — With PG&E’s power outage extending into Day 3 in parts of eastern Madera County Tuesday afternoon, many of the more than 3,000 residents still without electricity were hunkering down for another cold, dark night.
Most of the communities still without power were located in and around North Fork and Bass Lake.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the latest information on PG&E’s website informed residents in those areas power should be restored no later than 1 p.m. Wednesday.
Crews from PG&E could be seen mobilizing in a parking lot next to the Bass Forks gas station Tuesday morning, studying grid maps of the area that were unfurled on the hoods of their vehicles.
Above town, helicopters whirled over the community throughout the morning, with airborne crews visually inspecting power lines.
One of the foremen from PG&E told an area resident that if power was not back on by nightfall, it would not be restored any earlier than daybreak Wednesday morning.
Governor Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday afternoon that PG&E had agreed to credit customers impacted by the so-called Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS), which the utility triggered around 2 p.m. Sunday in advance of predicted high winds.
More than 2 million Californians have been impacted by the PSPS events over the last week, including nearly 17,000 PG&E customers in eastern Madera County as well as more than 2,000 people in Mariposa County and 4,100 customers in Fresno County’s foothill communities.
The blackouts are aimed at preventing PG&E’s electrical equipment from sparking wildfires in high winds.
The high winds, which blew through the area around Bass Lake Sunday, registering gusts as high as 70 mph, are believed responsible for downing a tree on Beasore Road that killed a YLP couple driving through the area.
High winds are also forecast for many mountainous areas in northern, central and southern California beginning Tuesday night. According to Accuweather, North Fork remains under a red flag warning until 2 a.m. Wednesday.
An update from PG&E posted this afternoon on Madera County Sheriffs Office’s Facebook, read: “The latest restoration update for Madera County shows 70% of the county has been restored, including 77% of the medical baseline customers and 68% of critical facilities. There was damage discovered on some of our infrastructure in the higher elevations that needs to be repaired prior to re-energization. Crews are diligently working on restoration again today, however, some may not be restored until 1:00pm tomorrow.”
Late Tuesday afternoon, there were reports from residents around North Fork and O’Neals of power being restored.
Here’s a link to an updated map of areas still experiencing outages: http://critweb-outage.pgealerts.com.