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 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:

  • 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

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. It 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.

TIMING OF PG&E CUSTOMER NOTIFICATIONS (when possible)

PSPS Timing Customer

PG&E Restoration of Power

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.

TIMING OF PG&E RESTORATION OF POWER (when possible)

PSPS Timing Customer 2

Potentially Impacted Areas

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 and Third Party Notifications

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.

  • 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.

To sign up for PG&E’s Medical Baseline program, learn more here or call 1-800-743-5000.

Third-Party Notifications:

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.

  • PG&E Guidelines:
    • Any RESIDENTIAL customer may designate a Third Party partner
  • Anyone may be a Third Party
  • Third Party is not obligated to pay any part of the customer's bill

Contact PG&E at 1-800-743-5000 to sign up for Third Party Notifications.

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 PG&E has shutoff your power

  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.

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.