We continue improving our system to keep customers safe and reduce the impacts of Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS). This includes using distribution microgrids to power central community corridors.
Distribution microgrids can provide temporary power separate from the larger grid. Generators are staged at the microgrid or sent when it is safe to energize the area. These microgrids are used to power community resources during a PSPS outage, including:
During a PSPS, we determine if it is safe to use distribution microgrids in targeted areas that are:
We send phone, text and email notifications to customers who will be impacted by a PSPS outage. The notifications will indicate if your address will be served by microgrid backup power. You can also find outage details for your address using our outage map.
We use distribution microgrids only when and where it is safe to do so. This includes targeted and isolated areas that are:
Outages keep workers safe when connecting or disconnecting any manually operated power source to the grid. This includes the temporary generators used to power most of our distribution microgrids. This work can take up to four hours. Customers will experience brief outages when backup power is connected or disconnected.
We used historical data to identify areas likely to experience PSPS outages. We also confirmed the areas are safe to energize under extreme weather. While selecting areas for a microgrid, we focused on areas with key community resources and critical facilities. This includes hospitals, police or fire stations and grocery stores.
We mainly use diesel-powered generation for distribution microgrid power during PSPS outages. This does not include the Redwood Coast Airport Microgrid, which is powered by solar and battery energy storage. We aim to minimize emissions and exhaust by using cleaner burning engines as much as possible. We are testing more sustainable and renewable options for future use.
The Redwood Coast Airport Microgrid project was a community-driven microgrid. Unlike most of our distribution microgrids, it is powered by solar and battery energy storage that is owned by a third party. It is funded by the Redwood Coast Authority, Schatz Energy Research Center and PG&E's Community Microgrid Enablement Program.
For more information about microgrid backup power: