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National Safe Digging Month Focuses Awareness on Importance of Calling 811

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif – Spring break, blooming flowers and warming temperatures are all hallmarks of spring time in Northern and Central California. So is April’s National Safe Digging Month – a public safety initiative supported by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and more than 1,000 other utilities — that raises awareness about the importance of having underground utility lines marked in advance of any digging project. It’s a nation-wide effort to help keep people safe while doing projects big and small.

According to the Common Ground Alliance’s damage information reporting tool, an underground utility line is damaged every nine minutes in the United States. With spring typically regarded as the ideal time to begin home improvement projects and new construction, PG&E is urging customers to help stop dig-ins by placing a toll-free call to 811 or an online request to have gas and electric lines marked free of charge three working days before the project begins.

“Dig-ins are one of the most serious threats to public safety in our industry. Whether you are digging with a shovel or heavy machinery, a call to 811 can help keep you, your family and neighbors safe as well as help avoid costly repair that may result from striking an underground gas or electric line,” said PG&E Gas Operations Senior Vice President Jesus Soto.

Key Facts

• In 2017, there were nearly 1,800 third-party dig-ins on PG&E’s underground infrastructure across Northern and Central California.
• Of the nearly 1,800 dig-ins, nearly half resulted from not using 811 to have gas and electric lines marked in advance.
• Of the third-party (customers or construction crews) dig-ins to PG&E’s lines in 2017, homeowners accounted for nearly 25 percent.
• Nine out of 10 residential dig-ins had not called 811 in advance.

811 is a designated toll-free number for homeowners and professional excavators and is serviced by regional offices. Operators answering calls and emails will dispatch all necessary utilities to properly mark underground utility lines with paint or flags. Underground Service Alert of Northern/Central California and Nevada (USA North), recently announced that it will now be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and will provide Spanish and other translation services.

“I commend USA North for demonstrating their commitment to safety by extending service hours. Construction work happens 24 hours a day and now crews in Northern California and Nevada will have the ability to file a ticket as soon as the need arises regardless of the time of day,” Soto added.

PG&E Safe Digging Tips:
Mark project area in white: Identify the digging location by drawing a box around the area using white paint, white stakes, white flags, white chalk or even white baking flour.

• Call 811 or go online for a USA ticket three working days before digging: Be prepared to provide the address and general location of the project, project start date and type of digging activity. PG&E and other utilities will identify underground facilities in the area for free.
• Dig safely: Use hand tools when digging within 24 inches of the outside edge of underground utility lines. Leave utility flags, stakes or paint marks in place until the project is finished. Backfill and compact the soil.
• Mind the lines: If the utility line is visible, dig in parallel with the utility line and use all precautions when removing the soil from around the utility line.
• Be aware of signs of a natural gas leak: Smell for a “rotten egg” odor, listen for hissing, whistling or roaring sounds and look for dirt spraying into the air, bubbling in a pond or creek and dead/dying vegetation in an otherwise moist area.

PG&E urges customers to call 911 and PG&E at 1-800-743-5000 if there’s a suspected gas leak. If an accidental dent, scrape or other damage is made to a gas pipeline, those nearby must leave immediately and alert others to avoid the area. Only when a safe distance away, should anything that might create a spark such as cell phones, matches, garage door openers, vehicles, or yard equipment be used.

PG&E Warns Customers of Increased Scams as Tax Filing Deadline Nears

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.— The deadline to file taxes is quickly approaching and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) warns its customers to protect themselves from an increase in scams involving people posing as PG&E employees. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), scammers take advantage of tax season to fool people into giving up their personal and financial information to file fraudulent tax returns ahead of the April 17 deadline.

This tax season, PG&E customers have reported increased emails or calls from scammers that falsely show PG&E’s phone number (1-800-743-5000) on the caller ID. Some of the recent scams have included:
• Telling customers they are eligible for a federal tax refund and requesting personal information like Social Security.
• Claiming to represent a PG&E initiative so they can sell a product or gain entrance to your home.
• Trying to sell a service such as solar evaluation and requesting personal information.
• “Phishing” emails to PG&E customers asking them to make a payment online or fill out false documents.

In all cases, PG&E actively works with law enforcement to help stop any scam impacting customers. Anyone who has received a call, email or visit from imposters claiming to be PG&E employees can report it immediately by calling PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.

PG&E offers the following tips to help protect you from potential scams:
• PG&E’s Credit Department will not ask for personal information or a credit card number over the phone. If you gave someone your credit card or checking account information, report it to the credit card company or bank and law enforcement immediately.
• Be cautious if you receive an unexpected email that claims to be from PG&E. Do not click on any links or provide any personal information, and call 1-800-743-5000 instead.
• Always ask for identification before allowing anyone claiming to be a PG&E representative inside your home. PG&E employees always carry their identification and are always willing to show it to you.
• Remember that if you have an appointment with PG&E, you will receive an automated call within 48 hours prior to a scheduled visit, or a personal call from a PG&E gas service representative prior to a scheduled visit.

IRS or U.S. Treasury impersonation scams can be reported to the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at www.treasury.gov/tigta or 1-800-366-4484.

About PG&E

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric energy companies in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/ and www.pge.com/en/about/newsroom/index.page.

PG&E Proposes Reforms to Support the State’s Clean Energy Future

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.—Today, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), along with Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric, proposed a new plan that supports the state’s clean energy goals, protects customer choice and ensures that all electric customers are treated equally.

The proposal offers a replacement to the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (PCIA) framework, supports continued Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) growth and ensures equity among all customers.

The new proposal finds the right balance for the state’s energy future by:
• Ensuring all customers are treated equally and pay their fair share while maintaining customers’ right to receive service from an alternate energy provider and protecting customers who choose to remain with their utility.
• Sharing the costs and benefits of investments in renewable and hydroelectric resources with the customers for whom the resources were procured or built. This will ensure CCAs continue to grow and that all customers equitably share in the state’s clean energy policy goals.
• Improving the process for sharing costs related to other energy resources by eliminating cost estimates and replacing them with actual costs, with the aim of allocating costs fairly between customers.

“We can achieve the state’s clean energy goals while also supporting customer choice and treating all customers fairly and equally,” said Steve Malnight, senior vice president of Strategy and Policy for PG&E.

Why the PCIA Needs to be Updated
Starting in 2002, California committed to clean energy and the infrastructure needed to deliver it by investing in long-term clean energy contracts that must be paid for over the next 20 years. At the time, this kept energy costs stable for all Californians.

Also in 2002, California’s legislature authorized the formation of CCAs, allowing cities and counties to purchase and/or generate electricity for their residents and businesses. The first CCA began in PG&E’s service area in 2010. Likewise, customers can choose to receive their electricity from other third-party suppliers called Energy Service Providers (ESPs). For both CCA and ESP customers, PG&E continues to deliver the energy and provide meter reading, billing, maintenance and emergency response services.

Today, communities that choose to implement CCA programs or customers that choose ESPs are responsible for the PCIA charge associated with energy resources procured on their behalf. PG&E does not make any money on the PCIA. The PCIA charge is required to ensure that all customers are treated equally and do not pay for other customers’ share of costs.

However, the current PCIA formula has become unbalanced over time due to the growth of CCAs. In 2017, CCA customers only paid approximately 65 percent of the costs associated with the energy resources procured on their behalf. This imbalance required PG&E customers who were not part of a CCA to pay approximately $180 million to subsidize CCA customers. Assuming this trend continues, in the early 2020s this amount is expected to grow to half a billion dollars, which is equal to the current PG&E low-income subsidy.

The full filing can be read here.

In Advance of 2018 Wildfire Season, PG&E Takes Action with Comprehensive Community Wildfire Safety Program

Weather Station Installation

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.— To help meet the climate-driven challenge of increasing wildfires and extreme weather events, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) today announced a comprehensive Community Wildfire Safety Program.

PG&E is working in close coordination with first responders, civic and community leaders and customers on this program. These efforts will have an immediate impact on reducing wildfire threats and improving safety, in advance of the start of wildfire season in Northern and Central California.

Years of drought, extreme heat and 129 million dead trees have created a “new normal” for California. In the interest of public safety, and following the wildfires in 2017, PG&E is implementing additional precautionary measures intended to reduce the risk of wildfires. PG&E is continuously evolving its operating practices in response to new standards and regulations – but this new normal means even more must be done in partnership to strengthen the safety and resilience of the state’s energy infrastructure.

The multi-faceted program focuses on three key areas:
• bolstering wildfire prevention and emergency response efforts;
• working with customers and first responders to put in place new and enhanced safety measures; and
• doing more over the long term to harden the electric system to help reduce wildfire threats and to keep customers safe.

“Our system and our mindset need to be laser-focused on working together to help prevent devastating wildfires like the ones in the North Bay in October and in Southern California in December from happening again, and in responding quickly and effectively if they do,” said Pat Hogan, PG&E’s senior vice president of Electric Operations. “Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, which is what the Community Wildfire Safety Program is all about.”

Among the actions that PG&E is taking:

Wildfire Prevention and Emergency Response

• Establishing a Wildfire Safety Operations Center to monitor wildfire risks in real-time and coordinate prevention and response efforts with first responders.
• Securing additional PG&E firefighting resources to respond to wildfires, protect poles, power lines and other electrical equipment during fires, and assist utility crews working in high fire danger areas.

• Expanding the company’s weather forecasting and modeling by installing a network of PG&E-owned and operated weather stations across the service area.

New and Enhanced Safety Measures
• Augmenting PG&E’s already rigorous vegetation management practices based on the High Fire-Threat District map adopted in January 2018 by the California Public Utilities Commission. New standards require keeping trees and limbs farther away from power lines. We also will be working to create fire safety zones around power lines in the highest fire-threat areas.
• Refining and executing protocols for proactively turning off electric power lines in areas where extreme fire conditions are occurring, and implementing the appropriate communications and resources to help inform, prepare and support our customers and communities.
• Expanding our practice of disabling line reclosers and circuit breakers in high fire-risk areas during fire season.
Electric System Hardening Over the Long Term
• Investing in stronger, coated power lines, spacing lines farther apart to prevent line-on-line contact during wind storms, and replacing wood poles with non-wood poles in the coming years.
• Expanding our practice of pre-treating electric poles with long-term fire retardant in areas where the fire danger is high.
• Partnering with communities to develop and integrate microgrids to help support community facility resilience in the event of major natural disasters.
Hogan, who has participated in recent legislative and regulatory hearings on wildfires, noted that PG&E won’t be able to do this alone. It will require a comprehensive and collaborative partnership that includes civic and community leaders, first responders and other public safety authorities, state leaders, and energy companies.
“All of us need to work together to make decisions and put in place solutions based on the dynamics of climate change and severe weather events,” Hogan said. “Our communities are depending on us to take strong and preventive actions that will protect our state’s energy future and help reduce the risk of wildfire in California.”

Wildfire Safety Operations Center

PG&E Customers Eligible to Save $10,000 on a New BMW i3 Electric Vehicle

BWW i3 (1)

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.—Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) today announced that PG&E customers can save $10,000 on the purchase of a new 2017 or 2018 BMW i3 or i3s electric vehicle (EV) including both all-electric (BEV) as well as range extender (REx) models. This offer adds to existing state and federal discounts available to customers in California to help support the state’s ambitious clean transportation goal of having five million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2030.

At any authorized BMW dealership, interested customers can show a recent copy of their PG&E bill and the filled out BMW customer information form found here. Family members are also eligible if they prove with a driver’s license that they reside at the same address as the customer on the PG&E bill. The discount is taken off the best-negotiated price for the purchase or finance of a BMW i3 or i3s EV and is available through May 31, 2018.

Additionally, BMW i3 customers are eligible to enroll in BMW’s ChargeNow program that offers 24 months of free charging at participating EVgo charging stations.

“Today, 40 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions in the state come from transportation. Electric vehicles are a critical part of reducing emissions, creating cleaner air and meeting ambitious climate goals in California. Making it easier for customers to adopt EVs can help drivers reduce their environmental impact while supporting the state’s clean energy future,” said PG&E Corporation’s Senior Vice President of Strategy and Policy Steve Malnight.

For more information on the offer, PG&E customers can view the FAQ and flyer. Customers can contact authorized BMW dealerships with additional questions.

Existing discounts for EVs
In addition to the discount offered by BMW, other available incentives could further reduce the cost of an EV by approximately 40 percent. PG&E recommends customers research other discounts and incentives, including:
• Federal Tax Credit: Customers could be eligible for up to $7,500 in federal tax credits. PG&E recommends customers review details closely and consult a tax accountant or Certified Public Accountant for specific information.
• California State Rebate: Customers could be eligible for an additional $2,500 off the BMW i3 through the California state rebate administered by the California Air Resources Board.
• PG&E’s Clean Fuel Rebate: PG&E residential, electric customers who are EV drivers can apply for the company’s one-time $500 Clean Fuel Rebate. The rebate is part of California’s statewide Low Carbon Fuel Standard initiative, which aims to reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging the adoption of clean fuels like electricity.
• PG&E customers living in certain areas such as San Joaquin Valley could be eligible for additional EV discounts.

PG&E Ongoing Support for EVs in California
Recently, PG&E launched its EV Charge Network program to help accelerate the adoption of EVs in California by increasing access to charging. Partnering with business customers and EV charging companies, PG&E will install 7,500 EV chargers at condominiums, apartment buildings and workplaces across Northern and Central California, including at sites in disadvantaged communities.

Committed to increasing adoption of clean vehicles in the state, PG&E continues its efforts to make it easier for customers to make the switch to EVs. Online resources help customers driving EVs learn more and determine which rate plan makes sense for them. On PG&E’s residential EV rate plans, customers pay the equivalent of $1.20 per gallon to charge their vehicle overnight.

To learn more about other options for EV drivers, visit pge.com/ev.

PG&E Urges Customers to Be Prepared, Stay Safe During This Week’s Storm

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — With a wet and cold winter storm arriving late Wednesday, and lasting through the weekend, PG&E is urging its customers to take the necessary steps to be prepared and stay safe.

Wet and windy weather will move north to south, impacting coastal and inland areas of Northern and Central California. Cold temperatures will bring snow to elevations below 1,000 feet in Northern California mountains and as low as 1,500 feet in Central California mountains. The most significant impact is expected along the northern coast and in the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

“The cold, windy and wet weather might come as a surprise after the spring-like conditions so far in 2018, but we are very much still in winter. We encourage everyone to have a plan for this week’s storm and to be prepared for outages that could occur. We are closely tracking the weather and are ready to restore service safely and as quickly as possible,” said Pat Hogan, senior vice president, Electric Operations.

Storm Safety Tips:

• Never touch downed wires: If you see a downed power line, assume it is energized and extremely dangerous. Do not touch or try to move it—and keep children and animals away. Report downed power lines immediately by calling 911 and by calling PG&E at 1-800-743-5002.

• Use flashlights, not candles: During a power outage, use battery-operated flashlights, and not candles, due to the risk of fire. If you must use candles, please keep them away from drapes, lampshades and small children. Do not leave candles unattended.

• Have a backup phone: If you have a telephone system that requires electricity to work, such as a cordless phone or answering machine, plan to have a standard telephone or cellular phone ready as a backup.

• Have fresh drinking water, ice: Freeze plastic containers filled with water to make blocks of ice that can be placed in your refrigerator/freezer during an outage to prevent foods from spoiling. Blue Ice from your picnic cooler also works well in the freezer.

• Secure outdoor furniture: Deck furniture, lightweight yard structures and decorative lawn items should be secured as they can be blown by high winds and damage overhead power lines and property.

• Use generators safely: Customers with standby electric generators should make sure they are properly installed by a licensed electrician in a well-ventilated area. Improperly installed generators pose a significant danger to crews working on power lines. If using portable generators, be sure they are in a well-ventilated area.

• Turn off appliances: If you experience an outage, unplug or turn off all electrical appliances to avoid overloading circuits and to prevent fire hazards when power is restored. Simply leave a single lamp on to alert you when power returns. Turn your appliances back on one at a time when conditions return to normal.

• Safely clean up: After the storm has passed, be sure to safely clean up. Never touch downed wires and always call 811 or visit 811express.com at least two full business days before digging to have all underground utilities safely marked.

Other tips can be found at pge.com/beprepared.

Technology at Work for You
The integration of advanced communications and control technologies throughout the electric grid continues to enhance the resiliency of the system and helps identify and restore power outages more quickly as we face stronger and more regular storms across Northern and Central California.

In the last five years, PG&E has invested $15 billion to enhance and harden its electric transmission and distribution system assets. A wide range of factors, from the operation of new distribution control centers to the building of a smarter energy infrastructure to advances in forecasting and emergency planning, all contributed to better reliability during storms.

PG&E’s meteorology team has developed a Storm Outage Prediction Model that incorporates real-time weather forecasts, historic data and system knowledge to accurately show where and when storm impacts will be most severe. This model enables the company to pre-stage crews and equipment as storms approach to enable rapid response to outages.

For more information about outages and ways to prepare and stay safe during the storm, please visit www.pge.com.

About PG&E
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric energy companies in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/ and pge.com/news.

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