Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) | Sonoma Clean Power
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Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS)

The power of being prepared.

Starting summer 2019, PG&E may 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 3 days.

According to PG&E, a Public Safety Power Shutoff will only be done when the most extreme fire danger conditions are forecasted to help reduce the likelihood of an ignition.

No single factor drives a Public Safety Power Shutoff as each situation is unique. PG&E reviews a combination of many criteria when determining if power should be turned off for safety.

These factors generally include, but are not limited to:

  • A Red Flag Warning declared by the National Weather Service
  • Low humidity levels, generally 20 percent and below
  • Forecasted sustained winds generally above 25 mph and wind gusts in excess of approximately 45 mph, depending on location and site-specific conditions such as temperature, terrain and local climate
  • Condition of dry fuel on the ground and live vegetation (moisture content)
  • On-the-ground, real-time information from PG&E’s Wildfire Safety Operations Center and field observations from PG&E crews

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 Notifications

Extreme weather threats can change quickly. 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 will also provide updates until power is restored.

Before a shutoff

  • PG&E has stated notifications will be sent 48 hours and 24 hours before they shut off power if possible. PG&E has also stated that it will attempt to send notifications via email, phone, and text to the contact information it has for each customer. 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.

During a shutoff

  • PG&E has stated it will send customers notifications at the start of and updates during a power shutoff.
  • As soon as SCP is made aware of PG&E shutoff status, affected areas, and information, we will make efforts to provide supplemental or secondary notifications via Twitter, Facebook, and/or our website. Visit sonomacleanpower.org and follow @SonomaCleanPower on Twitter and Facebook for updates.
PSPS Timing Customer

PSPS events may be cancelled by PG&E if forecasted weather conditions improve. In that event, PG&E would notify customers that forecasted weather conditions have improved in their area and they are not planning to turn off their electricity.

Please note: There is no advance notice when PG&E needs to turn off power at the request of a state or local agency due to an active wildfire or other emergency response situation.

Potentially Impacted Areas

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.

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. Although a customer may not live or work in a high fire-threat area, their power may be shut off if their community relies upon a power line that runs through an area experiencing extreme fire danger conditions.

The specific area and number of affected customers will depend on forecasted weather conditions and which circuits PG&E decides to turn off for public safety.

Vulnerable Populations

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:

  • Outreach will be done through automated calls, texts, and emails.
  • If PG&E doesn't speak to you or a family member directly or receive confirmation of the email or text they send, they will follow up with a phone call.
  • If a phone call is not successful, they will attempt to notify you in person at your address.

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 and refrigerated medicines. Find out how long medication can be stored at higher temperatures and get specific guidance for any medications that are critical for life.

If PG&E has warned of a power shutdown:

If PG&E is planning to turn off your electricity within the next 48 hours, here are some important things to do now:

  1. Make sure cell phones and back-up batteries are fully charged. Check your battery-operated radio and flashlights.
  2. Fill up your car with gas and leave it out of the garage. (You should also learn how to manually open the garage door)
  3. Place your go bag or emergency kit in the car so if you’ll be ready if you need to leave in a hurry.
  4. Fill some water bottles (3/4 full only) and place them in the freezer to help keep things cool (remember, if you leave the doors of the refrigerator closed it will remain cool for many hours).
  5. Make sure you have cash.
  6. Check with PG&E for information about their plans and if they are going to open a community resource center.
  7. Check with your local government for cooling centers that may be available.
  8. Contact your neighbors who may need help and help them get ready.

If your power is out:

  1. Check to see which of your information sources are working (NOAA Radio, Internet news sites, alert and warning apps).
  2. SoCoAlerts/MendoAlerts will send messages if evacuations are ordered. If you are in a high-risk wildfire area, stay alert – warning devices may not work without power.
  3. Use your cell phone sparingly to preserve power. Text when possible, in lieu of voice calls. Keep family up to date about how you are doing.
  4. Keep hydrated and seek out cooling centers if needed.
  5. Try to keep your refrigerator doors closed. Use the most perishable items first. Items which fully thaw (above 40 degrees) must be used within 4 hours or thrown out.
  6. If you have relatives or friends in other areas that still have power, take this opportunity to visit them.
  7. Check on your neighbors and help each other stay safe.

PG&E Restoration of Power

After the extreme weather has passed and it is safe to do so, PG&E crews will work to visually inspect the power lines to ensure they are free from damage and safe to energize. Inspections will take place during daylight hours. PG&E expects to be able to visually inspect the system for damage and restore power to most of our customers within 24 to 48 hours after extreme weather has passed.

PSPS Timing Customer 2

Ways to Prepare

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:

  • Do you know how to open your garage door manually?
  • Do you have cash on hand and a full tank of gas, in the event ATMs and gas stations are unavailable?
  • Are your mobile phones fully charged and/or backup batteries available?

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.

Interested in backup power sources? If you have rooftop solar, your panels will probably NOT work during a power outage unless you have a special inverter or battery storage. Inquire with your solar provider. If you have a generator, protect yourself and your family by viewing PG&E's webpage about generator safety.