As a new set of winter storms sweep through Northern California, more than 700 utility crews continue to work around the clock to restore service to Pacific Gas and Electric Co. customers and repair damage to electrical equipment. Since the first storm slammed into the state with gale-force winds on Friday morning, crews have restored service to more than 2.3 million, or 98 percent, of the 2.4 million electric customers who have lost power.

As of 4 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, about 44,000 PG&E customers were without power, mostly in the North Coast and Sierra Nevada regions, where several storm-ravaged counties declared states of emergency. About 3,800 of the utility's customers without service are in the greater Bay Area, mainly in Marin County. Some 24,000 customers throughout Northern and Central California have been without power for more than 72 hours, primarily in remote locations with difficult access.

PG&E has mobilized more than 100 contract crews from as far as Kansas and two dozen mutual-aid crews to help its own crews restore service as fast and safely as possible. However, new storms may cause additional outages or delay some service restorations.

PG&E continues to give priority to critical facilities such as hospitals and schools, and to customers who have been without power the longest.

"We're proud that our crews restored service in less than 48 hours to 95 percent of customers who lost power, despite the severity of the storms," said Mark Johnson, vice president for electrical operations and engineering. "It's a tribute to their skill, long hours of hard work, and the pre-storm preparations of many support teams. Above all, it reflects our commitment to serving customers, in bad times as well as good."