Parts of western St. Helena are experiencing heavy PG&E activity as the utility upgrades its poles and other infrastructure.
With California under a shelter-in-place order, PG&E has delayed most projects involving planned power outages. However, the St. Helena project is deemed “critical wildfire safety work … and critical to support important transmission reliability,” according to PG&E spokesperson Deanna Contreras.
PG&E and its contractors will remain in the area of Madrona, Riesling and Fir Hill until Thursday, March 26. Some areas of Hudson Avenue are also affected.
About 56 customers were notified Friday that they would be switched to generator power when the project started on Saturday, Contreras said. There was a 20-minute outage while the switch took place.
The same 56 customers affected by the last outage have been notified of another brief outage on Thursday while the neighborhood is reconnected to the grid.
PG&E is also notifying approximately 35 customers on Hudson Avenue that they will experience a 30- to 40-minute interruption of service on Sunday, March 29, while they are switched to generator power. Those customers will have power while crews do the work. The same 35 customers will experience another short outage on Friday, April 3, as PG&E takes them off generators and puts them back on the grid.
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The occupants of one home on Hudson Avenue will have to leave for a few hours on Monday while work takes place, Contreras said. Occupants of a neighboring house had also been told to vacate next Monday, but they were told on Tuesday that they would not need to leave after all.
PG&E and its contractors are observing safety and health regulations, including taking appropriate social distancing precautions where possible, Contreras said. Contractors will provide traffic control in any areas that will require reduced lanes.
“We understand this is a challenging time for everyone and we have done everything we can to minimize impacts to customers during this important wildfire safety work,” Contreras said.