In 2019, PG&E established a new safety protocol to proactively shutoff power to their distribution and transmission lines in an effort to prevent their equipment from starting wildfires. These events are known as PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS).
As many distribution and transmission lines powering Sonoma and Mendocino counties are located in wildfire prone areas, PG&E PSPS events could impact a large part of our community. PG&E recommends preparing for power outages that could last more than 48 hours. Visit www.pge.com/psps for more information on length of outages.
According to PG&E, no single factor drives PG&E’s decision to initiate a Public Safety Power Shutoff. PG&E reviews a combination of many criteria when determining if power should be turned off for safety.
PG&E has indicated these factors generally include, but are not limited to:
PG&E encourages residents and businesses to be aware of the potential for PSPS events and follow PG&E steps to prepare for multi-day power outages.
PG&E’s goal, dependent on weather, is to provide customers, communities, critical service providers and public safety authorities with advance notice prior to turning off power. PG&E has acknowledged, this may not always be possible and PSPS events could occur without customer notice.
PG&E has stated notifications will be sent 48 hours and 24 hours before they shut off power if possible. In addition, PG&E had stated it intends to notify customers during the PSPS event and once power has been restored.
For more information about PG&E's notifications and how to update your contact information, visit www.pge.com/psps or call PG&E at 1-866-743-6589.
Before re-energizing the lines PG&E crews will work to visually inspect the power lines to ensure they are free from damage and safe to energize.
According to PG&E, the most likely distribution and transmission electric lines to be considered for shutting off for safety will be those that pass through areas that have been designated by the CPUC as at elevated (Tier 2) or extreme (Tier 3) risk for wildfire. See the CPUC’s Fire-Threat Maps & the High Fire-Threat District (HFTD) here.
Customers in SCP’s service territory have two major sets of transmission lines that could impact a large number of customers if one or both were to be de-energized.
The specific area and number of affected customers will depend on which circuits PG&E decides to turn off for public safety.
Medical Baseline Customers:
If you are a PG&E Medical Baseline customer (dependent on electricity for your medical condition), PG&E has stated they intend to make the following efforts to notify you of a shutoff before it occurs. For more information visit: www.pge.com/psps.
If you have medical needs that are dependent on electricity, talk to your medical provider about a power outage plan for medical devices powered by electricity
An optional PG&E program available for residential customers to designate an individual that is authorized to act on their behalf in certain situations. Per PG&E this contact would also be notified by PG&E in case a PSPS event.
Contact PG&E at 1-800-743-5000 to sign up for Third Party Notifications.
Create an emergency plan that accounts for all family members and pets, especially those with medical or transportation needs, and practice it. For more information, see PG&E’s emergency plan recommendations. PG&E asks customers to consider the following:
PG&E also recommends making an emergency supply kit that will last for a seven day power shutoff. PG&E has guidance for how long food will last in your refrigerator and freezer.
Backup electric power can help keep the lights on and appliances running during a power shutoff. Explore whether battery storage is right for you.