Many Valley residents lose power as winter storm hits

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The power is back on for a number of residents north of Millerton Lake in Fresno County.

New technology and smart meters are helping PG&E pinpoint damage and keep outages isolated.

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The power company also had plenty of time to prepare and forecast where the biggest issues could be.

"It's typical of a large Winter storm or a strong Winter storm where we see these widespread impacts from it. It's also something we're very familiar with responding to," said PG&E official Denny Boyles.

David Peck lives in Fresno County -- not too far from where crews were busy restoring power after a pole along Millerton Road was damaged by the storm.

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Peck works from home so the outage forced him to get a bit creative while he waited for the electricity to come back on.

"I was able to use the hotspot on my phone to at least get on my computer and just started lighting some candles...trying to figure it out," said Peck.

Power has since been restored for Peck and his neighbors but the same can't be said for a number of other customers system-wide.

The storm knocked out power for thousands of residents in the Yosemite Division, while the Fresno Division saw a couple hundred go without electricity for a period of time.

"I would say in terms of the large number of outages, we're probably past the point where we're going to see that. But we also know the rain and snow are going to continue for the next couple of days, so there's potential for additional outages along the way," said Boyles.

Officials continue to pre-position crews where they anticipate the greatest impact will occur while crediting advanced technology for helping PG&E respond to power outages better than in the past.

"With smart meters, we also had automated equipment that lets the grid essentially heal itself. So if a fault is detected, for instance, a single-power pole damage, they can install automated switches that can isolate that damage," said Boyles."
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