Restoring power to Oakhurst proves difficult
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- PG&E crews spent the day clearing debris and trying to restore power to homeowners in Oakhurst. Heavy rain and strong winds knocked out power to hundreds of people in the Madera County community.
Thousands of tree branches and limbs were snapped by the weight of the heavy wet snow, falling onto power lines, and pulling poles over. PG&E crews are struggling to repair the damage and get the power flowing into the Oakhurst area again.
Kevin Withrow with PG&E said, "We're trying to pick up the rest of the downtown area and branch out from other areas where we have power. Just branch out from there."
While power has been restored to most of the businesses along the main drag, it's estimated 8 to 9 thousand customers in the area are still without power.
Oakhurst resident, Terry Ehringer said, "Being without power you have to use a lot of candles and check on your neighbors."
While Terry Ehringer's power was only out for a few hours, many of his neighbors are going to be in the dark for awhile. Stephanie Maxwell's house was hit hard.
"About 5:30 in the morning this tree fell and knocked out the power lines," said Maxwell. "PG&E still hasn't responded."
The falling tree hit the wires, and pulled the meter and electrical box loose from the wall. PG&E crews told her she will have to hire an electrician to reconnect it, and get the trees removed before they can fix the pole and hook her up.
"It's ridiculous," said Maxwell. "You should be able to fix a power pole and at least give me some kind of power. I'm paying for it."
PG&E's service center in Oakhurst has become the command post for dealing with this crisis. Contract crews are being brought in from as far away as Montana and Colorado to help get power lines back up, and the electricity on.
"Very unique," said Withrow. "This is one of the hardest hit storms we've had in the area in a long time."
And PG&E says power may not be restored to all affected areas until Saturday, at least.
storm, pg&e, oakhurst, madera county, local, gene haagenson
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