Update: 5:45 p.m. Berkeley police are reporting that the gas line has been repaired and the road reopened. PG&E gas service responders will now around to relight pilot lights.
Update, 3:25 p.m. Gas service around Panoramic Way is now expected to return “early to mid-evening,” said Tamar Sarkissian, PG&E spokeswoman. Around 200 households have been without service since crews struck a gas line with a backhoe just before 10 a.m.
Original story: Around 200 households clustered around Panoramic Way south of Memorial Stadium lost gas service this morning when a crew not connected to PG&E dug into the ground with a backhoe and struck a gas line.
There currently is no set time for gas service to return but it should be some time “later this evening,” according to Tamar Sarkissian, a PG&E spokeswoman.
The crew struck the gas line around 9:54 a.m. The Berkeley Fire Department and a PG&E crew rushed to the scene, which they said was at Panoramic Way near Orchard Lane, according to a Nixle alert put out by the Berkeley Police Department. Panoramic Way was closed for a time but has since reopened, according to residents.
Customers in the area should not attempt to relight their pilot lights on their own, said Sarkissian. Once the gas line is repaired, PG&E’s gas service responders will be going door to door to relight pilot lights. If someone is not home, PG&E will leave a door hanger with information about how to call PG&E back, she said. The customer service number is 1-800-743-5000.
Customers should always ask to see a technician’s identification before letting him or her into their homes, added Sarkissian.
April is “National Safe Digging Month,” an outreach campaign to prompt people to call 811 before they do any digging, said Sarkissian. PG&E wants homeowners to call before they do any project, even one as small as small as planting a new tree. Customers should allow three days for an answer about whether an area is safe to dig, she said.
In Northern and Central California last year, PG&E responded to 1,780 incidents in which digging created problems, said Sarkissian. In Berkeley, there were 36 incidents.
Berkeleyside will update this story when or if PG&E says there is a specific time the line will be repaired.