More than two dozen Public Service Company of Oklahoma employees are on their way to California to assist Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) address power outages associated with that state’s ongoing high winds and wildfire emergency.
The employees from PSO’s Tulsa, Lawton and McAlester Districts will be arriving in Sacramento, then given their work assignments and locations.
Due to ongoing high wind conditions, some PG&E power lines have been de-energized to prevent them from causing or contributing to wildfires. Other power lines have been damaged by fire. The role of the PSO workers will be to inspect and assess the condition of PG&E facilities to help determine which are ready to be re-energized, and which will require repairs.
“Although in this situation our employees won’t be working on the lines to restore power, PG&E has a critical need for experienced line personnel to help them get a handle on the best and safest way to help address this emergency while their workers focus on outage recovery,” said PSO’s vice president for Distribution, Steve Baker.
According to Baker, there is no definitive timeframe for the PSO workers to remain in California, but they were told before leaving to prepare for a stay of a week or more.
As of Wednesday, PGE cut power to 433,000 homes and business in a maneuver to prevent new fires. The National Weather Service also had issued its first ever “extreme red flag warning” for much of Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
The Kincade fire had burned more than 76,000 acres and was only 15 percent contained. It had destroyed nearly 60 homes and the burned area was more than twice the size of the city of San Francisco.