Urgent Alert

Electric safety

Learn what PG&E is doing to keep you safe around powerlines

emergency alert icon  If you smell natural gas or suspect an emergency, leave the area now and call 9-1-1. 

emergency alert icon  If you see downed powerlines, stay away. Don’t exit your car or home. Call 9-1-1. Then call PG&E at 1-877-660-6789.

 

24-hour Customer Service Line: 1-877-660-6789

24-hour Power Outage Information Line: 1-800-PGE-5002 (1-800-743-5002)

Stay safe around powerlines

Different types of overhead lines may be visible in your neighborhood. Tree safety work and vegetation clearance requirements will vary depending upon the type of line.

 

overhead line

 

PG&E powerlines

Transmission

Usually located on metal towers up to 180 feet tall, they transport high-voltage electricity and serve entire cities and towns. We maintain year-round clearances around these lines to reduce the likelihood of power outages across large areas.

 

Distribution–primary

Usually located at the top of wood poles above the pole-mounted transformer, they deliver power into local neighborhoods. We maintain a minimum clearance of 18 inches around these powerlines, with high fire-threat areas requiring a minimum 4-foot clearance.

 

Distribution–secondary

Usually located below primary lines on the same poles beneath the pole-mounted transformer, they typically carry electricity directly to homes or businesses through connected service wires. We clear vegetation from secondary lines if we determine there is strain or abrasion.

 

Service wires

Wires that connect directly from secondary lines to your home or business. Customers are responsible for maintaining service wires to keep them free of vegetation.

 

Non-PG&E lines

Communication lines

Lowest lines on the wood utility pole. These are telecommunication wires, which are usually black and appear thicker than powerlines. We do not own or maintain these wires, and it's common to see trees and vegetation near them.

 

If you see trees or vegetation growing too close to overhead powerlines maintained by PG&E, report the issue with PG&E Report It. If you need to request a free temporary service disconnect, please contact us.

What to do if you see a downed powerline


Don't go near a downed powerline

Downed powerlines can kill you. Never touch them. Always assume that a fallen powerline is live. Follow these guidelines:

  • Don't touch the downed powerline with your hand or any object
  • Don't touch anything in contact with a downed powerline, including a car or another person.
  • Keep children and pets away from fallen electric lines.
  • Don't drive over a downed powerline.
  • Call 9-1-1 immediately to report a downed powerline.

 

Stay safe if a fallen powerline touches your car

If your vehicle comes in contact with a downed powerline:

  • Stay inside your car. The ground around your car may be energized.
  • Sound the horn. Roll down your window. Call for help.
  • Warn others to stay away. Anyone who touches the equipment or ground around your car can be injured.
  • Call 9-1-1 from your car, if possible.
  • Do not exit the vehicle. 
    • Wait until a firefighter, police officer or PG&E worker tells you it’s safe.


If your car is in contact with a fallen powerline and a fire starts, exit the vehicle:

  • First, remove loose items of clothing.
  • Hands at your sides, jump clear of the vehicle. Make sure you are not touching the vehicle when your feet hit the ground.
  • Once clear of the vehicle, keep your feet close together. Shuffle away from the vehicle without losing contact with the ground.

 

Do not use Mylar® balloons and toys near powerlines

  • If a balloon or toy is caught in a powerline, contact PG&E now. Do not go near the powerline.
  • Report issues with the PG&E Report It mobile app.
    • Do not use Mylar balloons, kites and remote-control toys near overhead powerlines.
    • If you must use Mylar balloons, tie them down. If they float into powerlines, they can cause outages and worse. 

 

Look up and live

  • Be aware of the powerlines above when lifting a ladder or long-handled tool.
  • Avoid fallen or dangling powerlines. Do not touch the lines. Call 9-1-1 now.
  • Do you see tree branches or limbs near powerlines? Use PG&E Report It.

How to turn off your electricity during dangerous events

 

Turn off power at the main switch

Know the location of your main electric panel. In an emergency, you can turn off your electric supply to your whole home or office through the main switch.

 

Learn how to replace fuses

You may have to replace fuses after emergencies. Follow these tips when replacing a fuse:

  • Know the location of your fuse box or circuit-breaker box.
  • Shut off the main electric switch before replacing the fuse.
  • Disconnect or turn off any equipment that might have caused the fuse to blow.
  • Know the correct sizes of any fuses needed and keep spares on hand. Do not replace a fuse with one of higher amperage.
  • Replace a blown fuse. Blown fuses can't be repaired.

 

Find out how to reset your circuit breakers

It's important to learn how to reset your circuit breakers when they trip during an outage. Follow these tips for resetting a circuit breaker:

  • Turn off or unplug equipment that connects to the tripped circuit.
  • Push the switch firmly to the off position.
  • Flip the switch back on.

After the overload is cleared, the electricity comes back on. When your circuit breaker trips repeatedly, a problem with the equipment on that circuit may be the cause. Call an electrician if the equipment is unplugged and the breaker continues to trip.

How we monitor and inspect our electric infrastructure

 

PG&E’s System Inspections Program monitors our distribution, transmission and substation equipment. It finds and fixes potential risks to the safety and security of the system. This work is part of our ongoing commitment to make sure PG&E’s electric equipment provides safe, reliable electricity.

 

Nearly one-third of the electric lines that provide our customers with power are now in High Fire-Threat District areas, as designated by the California Public Utilities Commission. The System Inspections Program is just one part of our efforts to address the climate risks of today—and tomorrow.

 

What to expect

PG&E's crews or contractors may inspect electric equipment in your neighborhood. This work may include:

  • Inspecting electric poles from the ground up
  • Climbing poles or towers to inspect the equipment and power lines more closely
  • Inspection by drone or helicopter, when needed

We document our inspections with high-resolution pictures. PG&E experts in system maintenance, engineering and maintenance planning review these images.

 

Timing of inspections

Our electric overhead facilities undergo regular inspections. We inspect distribution overhead facilities in extreme fire-threat areas (Tier 3) every year. We inspect distribution overhead facilities in elevated fire-threat areas (Tier 2) every three years. We conduct inspections of our transmission and substation overhead facilities every five years. These inspections might be more frequent based on wildfire risk. This year, we will inspect all Tier 3 and some Tier 2 transmission overhead facilities.

 

Read PG&E’s Wildfire Mitigation Plan for more information about our system inspections program

 

The timing of each inspection depends on weather, access and other factors. We'll send you a courtesy notification when crews are inspecting equipment on your property. This includes helicopter or drone inspections.

Frequently asked questions

Which technology and tools do you use for these inspections?

Our crews take high-resolution photographs when they examine electric equipment. We conduct ground inspections for distribution equipment. We perform ground or climbing inspections, and use helicopters or drones, to inspect transmission equipment. We also use light detection and ranging (LiDAR) technology to help prioritize work.

 

Will you be conducting this work on my property?

PG&E will contact you if we need to inspect electric equipment on your private property. This includes helicopter or drone inspections conducted in the area. Property owners will receive a courtesy notification if crews plan to inspect equipment on their property.

How are you determining the timing of necessary repairs?

PG&E prioritizes equipment repair needs based on inspections. We promptly repair the highest-priority equipment issues. Repairs for all other conditions are completed as part of our routine work plan.

 

How will you notify customers if outages are required for repairs?

There may be some cases where we need to turn off power to safely conduct repairs. When we must turn off the power for short periods of time, we give customers as much forewarning as possible.

 

Where can customers get more information about repairs in their community?

Questions or concerns about our safety work? Please call 1-877-295-4949 or email us at wildfiresafety@pge.com.

More on safety

Safety

Your safety is our top priority.

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.