All Californians need to take important steps to get ready before the 2019 wildfire season, such as creating an emergency kit and thorough emergency plan. Learn more about what California's largest energy companies are doing to address the threat of wildfire and Public Safety Power Shutoffs at prepareforpowerdown.com.
As part of our Community Wildfire Safety Program, PG&E is implementing additional precautionary measures to help reduce the risk of wildfires. If gusty winds and dry conditions, combined with a heightened fire risk, threaten a portion of the electric system serving your community, it may be necessary for us to turn off electricity in the interest of public safety. This is called a Public Safety Power Shutoff.
Our Public Safety Power Shutoff program now includes all electric lines that pass through high fire-threat areas – both distribution and transmission.
While customers in high fire-threat areas (based on the CPUC High Fire-Threat District map) are more likely to be affected, a public safety power outage could impact any of the more than 5 million customers who receive electric service from PG&E. This is because the energy system relies on power lines working together to provide electricity across cities, counties and regions.
We want to work together to help our customers prepare and keep your home, family or business safe during extreme weather and possible outages. Learn more about how to prepare a safety plan. Because extreme weather can last several hours or days, for planning purposes, we suggest customers prepare for outages that could last longer than 48 hours.
Please make sure we have your correct email address, landline and mobile number so we can reach out to you in advance of a Public Safety Power Shutoff event, when possible.
Distribute this information to residents and tenants.
We file a report with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) after each PSPS event.
No single factor drives a Public Safety Power Shutoff, as each situation is unique. PG&E carefully reviews a combination of many criteria when determining if power should be turned off for safety. These factors generally include, but are not limited to:
Importantly, while we monitor and take into consideration Red Flag Warnings issued from the National Weather Service, the issuance of a Red Flag Warning does not automatically trigger a Public Safety Power Shutoff.
The most likely electric lines to be considered for a public safety power outage will be those that pass through areas that have been designated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) High Fire-Threat District map as at elevated (Tier 2) or extreme risk (Tier 3) for wildfire. Customers outside of these areas could have their power shut off, though, if their community relies upon a line that passes through a high fire-threat area. We want all of our customers to be prepared for possible public safety power outages.
We anticipate that a Public Safety Power Shutoff could occur several times per year in PG&E’s service area although it is impossible to predict with certainty when, where and how often extreme weather conditions could occur given the rapidly changing environmental conditions.
While customers in high fire-threat areas are more likely to be affected, any customer could have their power shut off if their community relies upon a line that passes through a high fire-threat area. We want all of our customers to be prepared for this possibility no matter where they live or work.
Predictions of strong winds are one of several criteria that we consider when deciding to initiate a Public Safety Power Shutoff, along with other factors like predictions of very low humidity levels combined with critically dry vegetation and on-the-ground observations.
Although you may not live or work in a high fire-threat area, or an area experiencing high winds, your power may be shut off if your community relies upon a line that runs through an area experiencing gusty winds and dry conditions, combined with a heightened fire risk.
If we need to turn off an electric line for safety, all customers who receive power from that line would be affected. Emergency facilities such as hospitals and fire and police stations typically use generators to remain open.
A Public Safety Power Shutoff could last for several days. If you have special needs that require electricity, we ask that you have an emergency plan in place. Be ready to act if you are notified by PG&E that a shutoff is imminent. Keep emergency phone numbers handy and plan for a backup location you can relocate to, if necessary. Check with local authorities regarding available resources.
If you are a Medical Baseline customer, please know that we will make every effort to notify you of a shutoff before it occurs:
For more information, call 1-800-743-5000.
We use the contact information associated with your PG&E account to reach you. So, as a first step to keep you and your family safe, please make sure we have your correct email address, landline number and mobile number. If your landlord or property manager is the PG&E account holder for your address, they will receive notifications on your behalf. We encourage you to contact them to confirm they know how to reach you.
We’ll attempt to reach you through all contact methods you’ve provided. You could receive duplicate notifications by phone, email or text. Our goal is to leverage all available contact info to get you this important information and allow time to prepare your home or business.
We will also use social media channels and keep local news and radio outlets informed and updated.
If we need to turn off your power for safety, our goal is to provide advance notifications in three phases:
No. We will reach out to all impacted customers using all contact methods based on information associated with your account.
You cannot opt out of any of the advance notifications (48-hour, 24-hour or shutoff). You can, however, opt out of updates during the public safety power outage, including the final communication letting you know that power has been restored. This opt-out preference will only be in effect for the specific outage and will not carry over to any future outages. You will be able to opt out of updates during future outages.
We will aim to send notifications between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. However, extreme weather threats can change quickly, and there may be some instances when notifications may be sent outside of those hours in the interest of safety.
We want to help all of our customers prepare with their own personal safety plans. In addition, customer contact information sometimes changes, and if customers haven’t updated their contact information, one or more of the methods we have on file may be incorrect.
Each situation will be different, just like each day's weather. We expect to be able to visually inspect the system for damage and restore power to most of our customers within 24 to 48 hours after extreme weather has passed. Because extreme weather can last several hours or days, for planning purposes, we suggest customers prepare for outages that could last longer than 48 hours.
Just like each day’s weather, circumstances for each Public Safety Power Shutoff will be unique. The length of the outage, which includes the weather event plus restoration time, could last several days. We will only restore power when it is safe to do so.
For planning purposes, we suggest customers prepare for outages lasting longer than 48 hours.
We do not reimburse customers for losses, as power will be shut off for safety when gusty winds and dry conditions, combined with a heightened fire risk, threaten a portion of the electric system. Customers will not be charged for electricity usage during the time power is off because no power is being consumed. All customers should have an emergency plan and be prepared for any extended outages. Since a public Safety Power Shutoff could last for several days, we encourage you to plan accordingly. Be aware that:
For more information, call 1-800-743-5000.
We advise you to think in advance about your family’s needs and how you might be impacted in the event of a power shutoff – or for any emergency. Please consider:
In short, yes. Proactively shutting off power for safety is just one of the ways PG&E is working to further reduce the risk of wildfires. Our Community Wildfire Safety Program also includes enhancing our real-time monitoring and intelligence capabilities, putting in place new and enhanced safety measures and further strengthening and upgrading our electric system, with a focus on the highest fire-threat areas. Even where equipment has been upgraded, extreme weather and fire danger conditions could still warrant proactively shutting off power for safety. As part of PG&E’s commitment to safety, our wildfire safety efforts will continue to adapt as we learn how to best address this complex wildfire threat.
It is important to note that we will only turn off power in the interest of safety when gusty winds and dry conditions, combined with a heightened fire risk, are forecasted to threaten a portion of the electric system.
Find out about the additional precautionary measures we're taking to further reduce wildfire risks and help keep the customers and communities we serve safe.