These settings allow our powerlines to automatically turn off power within one-tenth of a second.
This can occur when there is a hazard, like a tree branch falling into a powerline.
These settings are in place in high fire-risk areas and some adjacent regions.
These settings are a proven wildfire prevention tool. In 2022, there was a 68% reduction in ignitions on EPSS-enabled powerlines.*
By stopping ignitions, we help prevent wildfires from starting and spreading.
If ignitions occur, the size of fires are much smaller thanks to EPSS. In 2022, there was a 99% decrease in acres impacted by ignitions, despite dry conditions.**
* CPUC-reportable ignitions in High Fire-Threat Districts on distribution powerlines (compared to the weather-normalized 2018-2020 average). ** As measured by fire size from electric distribution equipment (compared to the 2018-2020 average).
What to expect
These more-sensitive settings will be turned on when there is an increased wildfire risk. This is most likely from May to November, but wildfire risk may exist year-round in some areas.
EPSS will help keep you safe, but you may experience unexpected power outages.
We conduct a daily analysis to determine wildfire risk and if safety settings are needed to protect customers. If conditions do not meet the need, EPSS is turned off. This helps to prevent unnecessary outages.
We do not expect these settings to impact customer bills.
Unexpected outages can happen for multiple reasons. This includes a branch hitting a powerline.
This could cause an outage on any powerline, including those without safety settings. EPSS-enabled powerlines help prevent wildfires by turning off power quicker.
In some cases, we may not be able to determine the cause of an outage.
Undetermined causes could be the result of something, like a branch or an animal, that contacted the powerline. Sometimes these hazards are no longer visible when our crews patrol to restore power.
We understand how disruptive it is for customers to lose power. That is why we are working hard to support our customers and communities and reduce the impact of outages. These efforts include providing:
Outages that result from these enhanced safety settings are not Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS). PSPS outages are a last resort used to keep you safe. Customers will be notified before a PSPS takes place.
NOTE: If a powerline is on your property, we may need access to restore power. Please allow our technicians access to patrol. The sooner they can patrol, the sooner power will be restored.
How are we supporting customers during outages?
We work hard to reduce the impact of losing power by:
Providing portable batteries, generator and battery rebates, and backup power transfer meters
Notifying customers when an outage has occurred and when they can expect power to be restored
Using ground and air patrols for quicker restoration times
Optimizing device sensitivity and other related settings to minimize the size and duration of outages