Power Outages

ZZZZap! The lights go out, Now what?

Please resist the urge to call 9-1-1.

The dispatchers generally do not know why the power is out. Chances are, they too are affected by the outage. It gets really busy in the communications center during power outages.

Officers have to be deployed to key intersections to help ensure drivers are stopping at the intersections.

Officers fan out into the neighborhoods to ensure criminals don’t take advantage of the situation.

You should call P.G.&. E.’s 24-hour information line on electric outages at 1-800-743-5002. Many people call the police department, often on 9-1-1, asking questions as to when power will be restored and the lights will come back on. In most cases, we don’t know either! 9-1-1 is to be used to report urgent crimes or life and death situations.

General Safety during a power outage

  • Do not call 9-1-1 to ask about the power outage.
  • Do call 9-1-1 to report an actually emergency you see during the power outage (like a downed line from an utility/power pole).
  • Listen to the news radio stations in your area for updates
  • Use extreme caution when driving. If traffic signals are out, treat them as a stop sign – come to a complete stop at every intersection and look before you proceed. Let the person on the right have the right-of-way.
  • Use flashlights instead of candles to reduce fire hazards.
  • Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to prevent food spoilage. Food should stay frozen for about one full day, and fresh in the refrigerator for about four hours
  • Turn off major electric appliances that were on when the power went off. This will help to prevent power surges when electricity is restored.

If you have a brown out:

  • Brown outs are when the power company cannot provide the normal 110 volts. This can cause damage to electronic equipment and motors.
  • Turn off all electric motors and electronic devices.
  • Turn off all other power uses (incandescent lights), this will help the power to restore more efficiently when the power does come back.

After an Outage

Wait a few minutes before turning on major electric appliances. This will help eliminate problems that could occur if there’s a sharp increase in demand immediately after power is restored.

If you think that electric power has been restored to your area but your home is still without power, call Pacific Gas and Electric Company at 1-800-743-5000 for information.