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Winter Driving And Power Outages; Are You Prepared?

CENTRAL SIERRA – With winter weather presenting challenges for motorists and knocking out power to some areas, PG&E reminds everyone to be prepared.

If you check out their online outage map, you will see that the blanket of snow last night caused outages affecting about 35,000 customers in area between the Yosemite and Sierra Divisions, which stretch from Madera north to Auburn.

Yosemite Division has 18,071 customers without power in 99 different outages, with outages affecting 2,300 in the Mariposa area plus scattered outages across the foothills including Oakhurst, Bass Lake and Coarsegold.

Crews are responding to multiple outages and PG&E says they appreciate the patience as they “work to restore power safely and as quickly as possible.”

Below please find some safety tips for customers who may need to drive in the snow, as well as gas safety tips for customers who plan to leave their homes until electric service is restored.

Winter Driving

Keep emergency gear in your car when you’re traveling in areas with snow and ice, including:

  • Cell phone and charger
  • Flashlights
  • Jumper cables
  • Sand or kitty litter (for traction)
  • Ice scraper or snow brush
  • Blankets
  • Warning devices (such as flares or reflectors)
  • Tire chains

You may also want to keep snacks and water on hand in case you’re stuck in the snow or near an accident scene for a long time, especially with kids in the car.

Gas safety

If you smell or hear escaping gas, get everyone outside. Do not use electrical switches, appliances, phones or anything with an open flame because sparks can ignite gas from broken lines.

Use a phone away from the building to call 911 and PG&E at 1-800-743-5000 immediately.

If you smell or hear gas escaping, and can do so safely, shut off the gas at the main service valve using a 12- to 15-inch adjustable pipe or crescent-type wrench or another suitable tool. The valve is normally located near your gas meter.

Once you shut off the gas, do not turn it back on. Contact PG&E or another qualified professional to perform a safety inspection before gas service is restored and appliance pilots are lit.

Click here for PG&E’s outage map.

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