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PG&E working to restore power to thousands impacted by CZU Lightning Complex

PG&E working to restore power to thousands impacted by CZU Lightning Complex
KION
PG&E working to restore power to thousands impacted by CZU Lightning Complex

SCOTTS VALLEY, Calif. (KION) Hundreds of people in the Santa Cruz Mountains are still without power after the CZU Lightning Complex fires torched power lines in the area.

PG&E says they are expecting to restore more power over the weekend, but there's plenty that has to be done before that can happen.

The company says they need to replace over 1,300 power line poles and put in 156 miles of new power line into the area. Crews were able to get a portion of it repaired on Friday.

As of Friday, there were 3,600 customers without service because of fire-related damage or proactive power shutdowns to protect fire personnel.

"It's just a matter of replacing the equipment," said Denny Boyles, the PG&E public information officer for the CZU Fire.

PG&E is only starting to make repairs to their damaged equipment. Much of the destruction could still be seen along Empire Grade near Felton. Other de-energized equipment were still sitting on the sides of roads.

New poles were already laid out in piles in different areas along Empire Grade. Not all areas are easily accessible for repairs.

"Some of the poles, for instance, you can't get a truck to the site where the pole is. So we'll get in, we'll be able to dig for the pole, but then they'll fly the pole and other equipment in to place it," said Boyles.

Luckily, the utility company has access to about 90 percent of the areas affected by the flames. They have already finished assessments in those zones. So far, they have replaced almost 400 poles already with other equipment.

They have also started removing a portion of the near 10,000 trees that were damaged by the fires. AT&T has also started repairing their infrastructure as well, as residents slowly return to and rebuild their lives.

"One thing I will say that I've learned over the years is it doesn't really matter how large a fire is, for the people who are affected by it, the impacts are the same. It's just how many are affected. But it's definitely a year where we're aware that it's not starting out well," said Boyles.

PG&E says by Monday, they will have a better idea of where power restoration will be at for the week. They are expecting to have power back for at least 1,000 customers over the weekend.

Santa Cruz County / Top Stories / Wildfires

Josh Kristianto

Josh Kristianto is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.

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