The number of PG&E customers still affected by weather-related power outages in the Bay Area dropped to under 8,000 by Sunday night.
The outages began late Saturday as light rain and heavy fog settled on power lines and equipment that had accumulated dust and debris during a long dry spell. The mixture sparked flashovers that caused outages, according to PG&E.
Nearly 29,000 customers were affected at one point and the number has steadily dropped as PG&E crews work to restore power.
As of 4 p.m., 7,682 were impacted, mostly in the East Bay, where about 6,900 customers were without power, PG&E said.
About 481 customers were still impacted on the Peninsula and 247 in San Francisco.
Less than 90 were affected in the North Bay and South Bay.
According to PG&E Spokesperson Deanna Contreras, "Expect most Bay Area customers to have their power restored by midnight tonight but there may be some customers in pockets of Richmond, El Cerrito and San Pablo who may not get power restored until tomorrow morning,"
It was quiet and dark at a San Pablo laundromat Sunday, on a day that is usually a popular day for people to clean their clothes for the week.
“Waiting to tell all the customers we’re not open no power no open,” said Hoyee Liang of Wash & Dry. “You can come back tomorrow, but Monday everybody working.
Liang is one of thousands of PG&E customers who lost power, the majority in the East Bay.
Believe it or not, our lack of rain played a part.
“After a long time without rain dust dirt and other substances accumulate on the power lines and when this first mist and light rain arrives after a long dry spell it turns into the mixture into mud which conducts electricity and it causes electrical damage and an outage,” said Deanna Contreras of PG&E.
Equipment like poles were affected by what they call electrical flashovers. On Sunday, crews fanned out making repairs and restoring power. The utility says they have a line washing program that they’re working on expanding.
“We did wash the lines in several East Bay areas but it has been such a long time without rain and we have been in this extreme drought conditions have been so dry that this first rain just did cause multiple outages,” said Contreras.
In Richmond, a gas station market was dark, so customers weren’t able to get gas.
“It went out in the middle of the night some time,” said Don Severn of San Pablo, who tried to make the best of it. “We’re going for a little boat ride on the bay. What the heck, get out of the house since we don’t have any power.”