Power outages can happen at any time

Backup electric power can be a part of any preparedness plan. Find out what you need to know about using backup power. View the Backup Generation Fact Sheet (PDF, 360 KB).


Options for backup power


Backup electric generators can operate as a stand-alone power source and some require interconnection to PG&E’s electric grid. Backup power is typically fueled by solar plus storage, batteries, natural gas, gasoline, propane or diesel fuel. It is the customer’s responsibility to understand how to safely operate the equipment and to read the equipment manufacturer instructions, warranties and all other information related to the operation of the equipment.


Ready to go solar? Learn more about your options.



Solar customers, please note: During an electric power outage, your solar system will not function unless designed to work with a battery or standby generator. For more information, call your service provider.


Interested in backup power programs? Learn more on the “Explore Backup Power Options” tab below.

Backup power can keep the lights on, help appliances stay running, save perishable food, and power essential equipment and electronics during a power outage.


Generators can be expensive, noisy, and can pose safety hazards. It's important to understand how to safely operate your generator or battery before an emergency occurs. This means doing regular safety checks and being sure you have enough fuel to last a few days.


Please be aware that operating a generator may be subject to Air Quality regulations. To find the air quality regulator serving your area and obtain more information please visit arb.ca.gov/app/dislookup/dislookup.php.


Consider these factors when deciding whether you need a generator.

General rates

Energy needs

Do you own certain devices or equipment that need to keep functioning in the event of a loss of power? How crucial is it for you to have power during an extended outage? This is especially important for customers who are dependent on life-support equipment or require special heating or cooling needs for a medical condition.

Megaphone

Noise

Are there community ordinances where you live or work that restrict or limit the decibel level allowance for outdoor equipment?

Calculator

Cost

Generators can cost thousands of dollars. Take any immediate needs into consideration as you examine which generator option may be the best choice for you.

DOWNLOAD THE EMERGENCY CHECKLIST FOR SMALL MEDIUM BUSINESS (PDF, 88 KB)

DOWNLOAD THE EMERGENCY CHECKLIST FOR LARGE BUSINESS (PDF, 87 KB)

DOWNLOAD THE POWER RESILIENCE PLAYBOOK FOR SMALL BUSINESSES (PDF, 127 KB)


Medical assistance

Are you dependent on electricity for a medical device?

If you rely on electric or battery-dependent medical technologies such as assistive technology, breathing machines, a power wheelchair or scooter, and home oxygen or dialysis, it is critical that you have a plan in place for an extended power outage.



DOWNLOAD THE PACIFIC ADA CENTER'S EMERGENCY POWER PLANNING FACT SHEET (PDF, 272 KB)



General Business

Is your facility prepared for a power outage?

Power outages can occur at any time. Ensure that your employees, tenants and customers know what to do during an emergency and that you have plans for backup power.

If you decide to purchase a generator or battery, explore what will work for you. Factors to consider include:

Energy Needs

Sizing your energy needs


Generators and batteries can produce enough electricity to power your phone and laptop or power your whole home.


  • How much power would you need during an outage?
  • Would you want power for a few critical items, or for an entire home, business or facility?
  • Which appliances and equipment need to be functional and how much energy does each require?
Fuel

Fuel


Your preference may be determined by environmental concerns, accessibility, affordability, and available space for secure generator storage.

Installation requirements

Installation requirements


  • Small batteries used for power are often portable and do not require professional installation for use.
  • Rented generators can offer a source of power but you must follow all safety tips. Your rental store professional can also instruct you on the proper use of your rented generator.
  • A permanent standby generator requires professional installation because of the direct connection to a home or business electric system.
  • Permanent generation requires high ground, where flooding is not likely to be a concern. Building code requirements must also be taken into account, particularly in densely populated areas.
  • No matter what type of generator you have, always consult the owner's manual for detailed instructions and safety guidelines prior to operation.

If you don't understand how to use your generator or battery, you risk damaging your property, endangering your life and endangering the lives of PG&E employees who may be working on power lines in your community.


FOR YOUR SAFETY: Operating a portable generator improperly can contribute to fire ignition risk. Users should follow all safety instructions provided by the manufacture before operation. Never connect any generator to another power source, including PG&E power lines.


power line

Portable generator safety


  • Be sure that the power needs of the device (electric load) is supported by your generator and does not exceed the manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Position your generator where its exhaust can vent safely to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and death.
  • Only use extension cords that are properly sized for your generator to prevent overheating. The American Wire Gauge (AWG) chart can be utilized to determine which extension cord is right for you. AWG measures extension cord thickness; keep in mind that the thicker the cord, the smaller the AWG rating will be.
  • Keep cords out of high-traffic areas so they don’t present a tripping hazard.
  • Never run cords under rugs or carpets where heat can be generated or where damage to a cord may go unnoticed.

Permanent-standby generator safety


  • Installation requires a licensed electric contractor or other qualified professional.
  • Ensure electricity from your generator does not flow or "backfeed" into PG&E's power lines. The most common way to prevent backfeeding is to install a "double-pole, double-throw transfer switch" along with your permanent standby generator.
  • Any additions or adjustments to your house wiring should be inspected by your city or county building department.
  • Once installation is complete, call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000 to let us know about your backup system. PG&E line workers will then be aware of your generator when working on an outage in your area.

Portable battery safety


  • Follow all warnings and manufacturers' instructions for portable power stations/batteries.
  • Never put a battery in a completely sealed environment.
  • Do not smoke near batteries.
  • Do not have any open flames near batteries.
  • If storing on shelves or racks, make sure they are secure.

Home battery safety


  • For home battery systems, ensure you are working with a reputable battery manufacturer and a high-quality, trusted installation company.
  • Ensure that battery manufacturers meet standardized industry safety regulations.
  • Work with a certified battery installer.
Batter icon for power save mode





Portable Battery Program


PG&E's Portable Battery Program (PBP) provides backup batteries to lessen the impact of a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) outage on customers who rely on medical devices.


Eligibility requirements include:


  • Reliance on medical equipment that operates on electricity to sustain life.
  • Enrolled in the Medical Baseline Program.
  • Live in a High Fire-Threat District as defined by this California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Fire Map or have experienced two or more PSPS outages since 2020.

Program partners will first reach out to eligible customers to conduct a phone or email assessment. The assessment surveys customer emergency preparedness plans and medical device information to connect the customer with the best battery available for their needs.



DOWNLOAD THE PORTABLE BATTERY PROGRAM FACT SHEET (PDF, 190 KB)
generator icon





Backup Power Transfer Meter Program


The Backup Power Transfer Meter (BPTM) Program is a free offer available to PG&E customers who are located in a Tier 2 or 3 High Fire-Threat District and/or served by an Enhanced Powerline Safety Settings (EPSS)-protected circuit. Customers located in these areas must have a compatible generator (XLSX, 23 KB). It is good for a limited time only and subject to change at any time. The offer is not transferrable.



DOWNLOAD THE BACKUP POWER TRANSFER METER FACT SHEET (PDF, 110 KB)

DOWNLOAD HOW TO SAFELY CONNECT A PORTABLE GENERATOR (PDF, 399 KB)

DOWNLOAD THE LIST OF COMPATIBLE GENERATORS (XLSX, 23 KB)


BPTM Program participant eligibility and site qualifications include:


  • Participant must be the PG&E customer of record at the site.
  • Participants must have a premise in a Tier 2 or 3 High Fire-Threat District as defined by this CPUC Fire Map.
  • Business customers must have a 2S-socket meter to participate.
  • Participant is the owner of the site or has the owner’s permission for the site’s participation.
  • If participant is a Medical Baseline customer, participant agrees participation will not compromise their medical needs and that those needs can be met during a PSPS outage with or without the use of a backup generator.
  • Participant’s site must have access to a 30A, 120V/240V with standard NEMA L14-30R plug portable generator with over-current protection.
  • The participant’s site must have a 200A meter panel into which the Backup Power Transfer Meter and cable can be installed. The panel must meet the operational purpose for the program.
bill rebates icon





Generator and Battery Rebate Program


This program is observing new policies as stated below effective August 9, 2022. The stated rules prior to this effective date are no longer applicable to this program.


PG&E is offering eligible customers a $300 rebate on the purchase of a qualifying product (generator or battery) to prepare for power outages.


Customers who are enrolled in PG&E’s CARE or FERA program will receive an additional $200 rebate. The total rebate amount cannot exceed the purchase price of the product, nor can it include taxes or shipping costs.


Generator and Battery Rebate Program Eligibility Requirements (must satisfy all to qualify):


  • You must have an active residential or business PG&E account.
  • You must be located in a Tier 2 or 3 High Fire-Threat District as determined by this CPUC Fire Map and/or be served by an EPSS-protected circuit. See if your home or business is protected by these enhanced safety settings with our Address Lookup Tool. A blue bar will appear at the top of the screen if you are served by an EPSS-protected circuit.

    AND



Notes (please review these completely to ensure eligibility):


  • Limited to one rebate per customer account (either generator or battery, not both).
  • All Portable Generators from the Qualified Product List must be compliant with the California Air Resources Board (CARB).


PG&E’s Catalog Qualifying Product List (XLSX, 60 KB)
    Generator and Battery Rebate Application

    Please Note: The rebate application must be submitted within 12 months from purchase date of the qualifying product or by December 31, 2022, whichever date is sooner.

    PG&E does not make any endorsements or recommendations. Below is a representative list of suppliers and contractors that may be able to help you. This list is not inclusive. Contact retailers directly for additional information, including FAQs, pricing, and financing.


    Alternatives to generators


    In contrast to generators, with portable power stations and battery technology you can charge anything from phones to refrigerators and everything in between. These solutions work indoors and out, without the noise, fumes, or maintenance of a traditional gasoline-powered generator.


    For more information on portable power stations and battery technology visit PG&E's Energy Action Guide.


    Financing options for backup generators and batteries


    Find out about our financial incentives


    PG&E provides financial incentives for business and residential customers installing new, qualifying equipment for generating and storing energy.



    Learn about the Self-Generation Incentive Program

    Find financing for emerging technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions