POLLOCK PINES (CBS13) – As the winds die down, Pacific Gas and Electric Company has given the “all clear” to start checking lines and restoring power to tens of thousands of people in the foothills.
PG&E cut power to 65,000 customers in 16 counties Sunday because of the wildfire danger. Most should have the lights on by Monday night. Some businesses in the impacted areas were prepared to stay open without power.
As of 8:40 p.m. Monday, the utility said it has restored power to “essentially all who can receive service that were impacted by the Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) event that started early Sunday morning on September 27.”
It may be a droning hum that Dan Birnceau and his staff have to hear all day on Monday, but the sound is what keeps some of their lights on and business open.
“Operating about 50 percent,” Birnceau, the owner of Pizza Factory in Pollock Pines, said. “It’s constant monitoring. You know setting up generators, monitoring all of the refrigeration throughout.”
In El Dorado County, it was estimated 27,286 customers were impacted by PG&E’s latest Public Safety Power Shutoff, according to the utility’s website. Power is expected to back up and running later Monday after the utility announced a weather “all clear” for in a majority of the impacted areas with the PSPS.
The utility said about 37,000 customers were still without power due to the wildfires that sparked overnight on Sunday.
Some business owners were prepared by the past. The generators were ready to roll.
“We’ve got thousands of dollars of stuff in the freezer and it’s just like, yeah, we don’t want to lose it,” Dan Redmond, the owner of Knott Hole Bar & Grill, said.
Redmond also said that being prepared and not having to close helps others too.
“We sell hundreds of gallons of gas, two gallons at a time, for residential generators too,” Redmond said. “So we really like to keep this stuff operational.”
And staying operational will always stay top of mind for business owners like Dan Birnceau.
“It always comes across your mind. We do everything we can to stay open and serve the community,” Birnceau said.
There are those in the community who can’t afford to be as prepared to turn the light back on themselves.
“The quote I got was $40,000 to put a generator in this place,” Judy Trent-Whitnack, who co-owns HeartSong Laundry, said.
Trent-Whitnack said they may have taken a tumble today with not having power. But, there’s something more important at stake in her mind.
“I want the safety. To give up a day of income, it’s just equally as important to care about the community,” Trent-Whitnack said.
PG&E said Monday that it is in the process of inspecting nearly 4,000 miles of transmission lines for damage or hazards.