Urgent Alert

Understanding power outages

Get to know types of electrical outages that may impact your home or business

Maintenance outage

We turn off power to safely work on powerlines, poles or to trim trees or vines near powerlines. 

Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS)

As a last resort, we may have to shut off power during severe weather to prevent a wildfire when risk is high. 

Rotating outage

During a heat wave, increased demand for power can put a strain on the electric grid. To keep the grid stable, PG&E may be instructed to turn off power to small groups of customers for about 1–2 hours.

General unplanned outage

An unplanned outage may be caused by damage from a car accident or weather, or a tree branch hitting a powerline protected by Enhanced Powerline Safety Settings (EPSS). EPSS is used in high fire-threat areas to prevent wildfires by turning power off automatically if there is a problem.

Major outage

A widespread, unplanned outage caused by a storm, wildfire, earthquake or major accident.

Emergency response outage

An outage requested by first responders such as police or firefighters. This might be due to a wildfire, earthquake or other emergency to safeguard response.

We know restoring power quickly is important. During large storms or when damage is widespread, restoration times are difficult to estimate. A variety of issues affect our ability to provide an exact restoration time: 


  • Unsafe working conditions
  • Deep snow, flooding or other hazards
  • Downed trees or severe weather
  • Widespread damage


We work around the clock and bring in additional resources from other utilities to restore your power safely and as quickly as possible.


  • Restoration is prioritized for critical customers such as hospitals, telecommunication facilities and water districts.
  • Largest outages are restored first to get the highest number of customers restored quickly.

Related information


At PG&E, nothing is more important than safety.

Community Wildfire Safety Program (CWSP)

Find out how we are making our system safer and more reliable.

Outage preparedness and support

Stay prepared for power outages and get support.