Are power outages possible in Sacramento during storm? Here’s what PG&E says

Are power outages possible as an atmospheric river storm sweeps through the Sacramento area?

Pacific Gas and Electric and Sacramento Municipal Utility District say they’ve been keeping a close eye on the winter weather.

“We do anticipate there will be some outages, but that doesn’t mean all customers will experience an outage,” PG&E spokesman Paul Moreno said midday Wednesday. “The vast majority of customers will have power.”

Heavy rain and gusty winds are forecast for Wednesday and Thursday, with chances of showers into the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

As of noon Wednesday, Redding had reported wind gusts of up to 29 mph, the weather service said, while Red Bluff saw gusts up to 26 mph and winds at McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento hit 21 mph.

“Things are definitely still picking up,” said Sarah Purdue, a National Weather Service meteorologist based in Sacramento.

Here’s how PG&E and SMUD have been preparing for the storm.

Is PG&E ready for power outages?

Ahead of the storm, Moreno said PG&E worked to ensure “that we have the adequate staffing available to respond to power outages,” Moreno said.

The utility company provides electricity to approximately 16 million people throughout the Northern and Central California regions, according to its website.

PG&E has its own meteorology department that’s been closely tracking the storm, Moreno said.

The utility company has the ability to send additional crew members to help in impacted areas, he said.

If you experience a power outage, you can report it via PG&E’s website or by calling 1-800-PGE-5002.

How is Sacramento Municipal Utility District preparing for storm?

SMUD, which provides service for 1.5 million customers, said in a Monday news release that it “is prepared for this week’s winter storm.”

“SMUD prepares year round for these type of events ... through maintenance of equipment and maintenance of vegetation in your infrastructure,” said Gamaliel Ortiz, SMUD spokesman.

If any SMUD customers experience a power outage, they can report it to or by calling 1-866-456-7683.

What to do during a power outage

Here’s how to stay safe during a power outage, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

Food safety tips

  • Food will remain safe in a closed freezer for up to 48 hours, 24 hours if the freezer is half-full.

  • Food will remain safe in a closed refrigerator for four hours.

  • Don’t taste food to test if it’s spoiled, throw it away.

Power generator safety tips

  • Don’t use a generator indoors, in small spaces or poorly ventilated areas.

  • Keep generators outside away from flammable items including dry grass.

  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy.

  • Be sure to have a working fire alarm and carbon monoxide detectors.

  • Remember: Generators become hot during and after use.

  • Use appropriate size extension cords and never run cords under rugs or carpet.

  • Position your generator where exhaust can vent safely to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

  • Never connect a backup power system to another power source.

The Sacramento Bee’s Brianna Taylor contributed to this story.

What do you want to know about life in Sacramento? Ask our service journalism team your top-of-mind questions in the module below or email