1,000-plus Stanislaus PG&E customers were told to expect shutoff. So, who lost power?

The public safety power shutoff conducted by Pacific Gas & Electric ended up affecting 135 customers in Stanislaus County, the spokesman for the county’s Office of Emergency Services said Thursday morning.

PG&E on Wednesday notified 1,088 customers that they may lose power, but about 10 p.m. that night de-energized only 135 of them, in the Knights Ferry and east county area, that spokesman, sheriff’s Deputy Royjindar Singh, said. As of early Thursday, 126 of those customers had their power restored, he said.

“My understanding is that most were restored shortly after the deactivation,” Singh said. At about 9:30 a.m. Thursday, he said the remaining customers might already have been re-energized also. He was awaiting confirmation.

The largest number of customers in a single community to face the shutoff Wednesday was 422 in Westley. But it never came. Stanislaus and Tuolumne counties were part of the second phase of the shutoff, and PG&E posted on Facebook Thursday morning, “That phase is complete. If you still have power IN THESE COUNTIES you will not lose power due to a PSPS.”

In Tuolumne County, updates on the shutoff are being reported by mymotherlode.com. In an update at 8:45 Thursday morning, it quoted the county’s director of emergency services as saying PG&E was expected to begin examining its power lines as early as 10 a.m. Once a line is deemed safe to re-energize, it still takes a few hours to power up.

Earlier in the morning, mymotherlode reported, “34,000 PG&E customers are without electricity in Tuolumne and 23,000 in Calaveras as part of PG&E’s planned power outages that are projected to last multiple days.”

The shutoff, which was anticipated to impact about hundreds of thousands of customers in more than 30 counties, was conducted to reduce wildfire risk during heavy winds across the state Wednesday and into early Thursday.

In a news release shortly after 10 a.m. Thursday, the utility said, “Improving weather conditions in some parts of the areas affected by the Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) have allowed for safety inspections, repairs and restoration in some areas to begin. Approximately 126,000 customers were restored by 6 a.m. Thursday.

“There are still currently approximately 600,000 customers without power as a result of the PSPS event, which began on early Wednesday. There were no reported fires related to PG&E equipment in the PSPS impact zone.”

In Stanislaus County, winds fell dramatically Thursday morning. At 5 a.m., gusts were about 35 mph in the Westley area, 13 mph in the Oakdale area, Singh said. By 8 a.m., they were down to 17 mph in Westley, 8 mph in Oakdale.

The National Weather Service forecast for Westley on Thursday is “a north northwest wind 17 to 22 mph, decreasing to 9 to 14 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 33 mph.” In Knights Ferry, a southwest wind of just 3 to 6 mph is predicted.

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Deke has been an editor and reporter with The Modesto Bee since 1995. He currently does breaking-news, education and human-interest reporting. A Beyer High grad, he studied geology and journalism at UC Davis and CSU Sacramento.