Public Safety Power Shutoff
What is a Public Safety Power Shutoff?
High temperatures, extreme dryness and record-high winds have created conditions in our state where any spark at the wrong time and place can lead to a major wildfire. If severe weather threatens a portion of the electric system, it may be necessary for PG&E to turn off electricity in the interest of public safety. This is known as a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS).
We are learning from past events. This year, PG&E is improving our PSPS program by making events smaller in size, shorter in length and smarter for our customers.
PSPS during the COVID-19 pandemic
We understand the importance of keeping the lights on, especially given the current stay-at-home orders. We are determined to do everything possible to address both the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the threat of catastrophic wildfires. Our overriding goal is to ensure public safety and Public Safety Power Shutoff is an important tool for doing so.
You can take these steps today to prepare
DO YOU HAVE AN UPDATED PHONE NUMBER OR EMAIL ADDRESS?
Do you rely on power for medical needs?
Enroll in the Medical Baseline program if you rely on power for medical needs to receive extra notifications in advance of a PSPS and a lower monthly rate.
How a PSPS works
How will PG&E determine the need to turn off power for safety?
If severe weather threatens a portion of the electric system, it may be necessary for PG&E to turn off electricity in the interest of public safety. No single factor drives a PSPS, 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:
- A Red Flag Warning declared by the National Weather Service
- Low humidity levels, generally 20 percent and below
- Forecasted sustained winds generally above 25 mph and wind gusts in excess of approximately 45 mph, depending on location and site-specific conditions such as temperature, terrain and local climate
- Condition of dry material on the ground and live vegetation (moisture content)
- On-the-ground, real-time observations from PG&E's Wildfire Safety Operations Center and field crews
It is important to note that 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 PSPS if local conditions do not warrant activation.
VIEW THE WEATHER CONDITIONS WE’RE MONITORING BY VISITING PGE.COM/WEATHER
WHY IS MY POWER SHUT OFF WHEN IT’S NOT WINDY?
Strong winds are one of several criteria that we consider when deciding to initiate a PSPS. Other factors like predictions of very low humidity levels combined with critically dry vegetation and on-the-ground observations from PG&E crews may initiate a PSPS.
Power lines travel long distances, often across the state, to deliver electricity to your community. 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 severe weather or a line within a high fire-threat area.
HOW OFTEN WILL THESE PSPS OCCUR?
While it is impossible to predict with certainty when, where and how often severe weather could occur, depending on the location, areas could experience an average of 0 to 5 events per year.
How will I know if I’m going to be impacted?
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 or an area experiencing severe weather.
WHAT ARE SOME THINGS I CAN DO TO PREPARE?
We want all of our customers to be prepared for possible public safety power outages. Please use these tips and tools:
- Check the PSPS event page. We will post updates regularly about a particular PSPS event. Visit the PSPS event page.
- Use our PSPS planning tools. When PG&E announces that a PSPS may or will occur, you can find out in advance if your address will be affected by visiting our Potential PSPS outage map.
- Update your contact information. When possible, we send alerts to PG&E customers in advance of and during a PSPS. Learn more below under “How and when will I be notified if a shutoff becomes necessary?” Update your contact information now.
- Contact your landlord or property manager. 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. Or, sign up to receive PSPS ZIP Code Alerts for non-account holders directly from PG&E.
- Follow your local news and social media. We post PSPS updates on Twitter, Facebook and other social media. Your local news outlet will also report the latest PSPS information.
I AM A MEDICAL BASELINE CUSTOMER AND/OR I HAVE SPECIAL MEDICAL NEEDS. WILL MY POWER BE SHUT OFF?
Yes, if we need to turn off an electric line for safety, all customers who receive power from that line will be affected. Emergency facilities such as hospitals and fire and police stations typically have backup power systems in place to keep essential services operational if the power goes out.
A PSPS could last for several days, so have an emergency plan if you have special needs that require electricity. You will want to be ready to act if you are notified by PG&E that a shutoff is imminent. Please keep emergency phone numbers handy and plan for a backup location you can relocate to, if necessary.
This year, PG&E is partnering with and funding the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers to support local Independent Living Centers (ILCs) in providing resources to those who need them most. We encourage you to engage with your local ILC on potential disaster or emergency resources by visiting disabilitydisasteracces.org.
Download the Pacific ADA center’s Emergency Power Planning fact sheet (PDF, 272 KB)
Prepare for outages
If you are a Medical Baseline customer, please know that we will make every effort to notify you of a shutoff before it occurs through:
- Automated calls, texts and emails.
- It is important for you to answer the phone or reply “1” to the text so that we know you received the notification.
- Attempting to notify you in person via door knocks we don't speak to you or a family member directly, or receive confirmation of the email or text we send, we will follow up with a phone call.
For more information, call 1-800-743-5000.
Make Sure We Have Your Current Contact Information
PSPS alerts and notifications
How and when will I be notified if a shutoff becomes necessary?
We know that PSPS is very disruptive and you need as much warning as possible.
Help us reach you
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.
Update Your Contact Info
Not a PG&E account holder? Sign up for ZIP Code alerts
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. Or, sign up to receive PSPS ZIP Code Alerts for non-account holders directly from PG&E by calling 1-877-9000-PGE or texting “ENROLL” to 97633. These notifications are not address-specific as they are only based on the ZIP Code provided. More information about the tool is available at pge.com/pspszipcodealerts.
How you'll be notified
We will attempt to contact you through automated calls, texts and emails. We will do our best to give you as much notice as possible. This year, we are updating our customer alerts about PSPS events to provide more detail earlier – including estimated time of restoration – about what to expect during PSPS events. We will also use pge.com and social media channels, and we will keep local news and radio outlets informed and updated.
Timing of notifications
If we need to turn off your power for safety, we aim to provide advance notifications in three phases:
- Advance notification (when possible)
- Two days before electricity is turned off
- One day before electricity is turned off
- Just before electricity is turned off
- During the public safety outage
- Once power has been restored
- NOTE: Due to the focus on safety, the shutoff notification will be sent at any time, day or night. We will aim to send all other notifications between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. However, severe weather threats can change quickly, and there may be some instances when notifications may be sent outside of those hours.
Assistance in other languages
If you need help to understand our alerts and notifications in languages other than English, please call the following numbers for assistance and indicate you would like translation services:
Do I have to opt in to these alerts?
If you are a PG&E account holder, you do not need to sign up for a "PSPS alert" or a "wildfire alert." Account holders impacted by a PSPS receive notifications by phone and email, when possible, in advance of the outage. We also send regular updates regarding power restoration. If you've provided multiple phone numbers, we’ll send notifications to each number.
To receive these alerts, it is important that PG&E has your current contact information so you can be notified when an event could impact your home or business. Visit My Wildfire Alerts or call 1-866-743-6589 to update your contact information.
Can I opt out of these alerts?
PG&E-account holders cannot opt out of any of the advance notifications. Account holders can, however, opt out of updates during a PSPS event, including the final communication letting customers know that power has been restored. This opt-out preference will only be in effect for the specific PSPS event and will not carry over to any future outages. You will be able to opt out of updates during future outages.
Non PG&E-account holders may opt of PSPS ZIP Code Alerts (for non-account holders) at any time. The opt-out request will be permanent. To receive future outage alerts, non-account holders must re-enroll for PSPS ZIP Code Alerts.
Get power outage and restoration information
HOW LONG WILL MY ELECTRICITY BE OUT IF YOU CALL A PSPS?
Each situation will be somewhat different, just like each day’s weather. As soon as the weather has passed and it is safe to do so, our crews will visually inspect for damage to ensure the lines are safe to turn on. In 2020, we are aiming to cut restoration times in half over 2019 performance, so that we restore power to a majority of customers within 12 daylight hours after severe weather has passed. However, depending on weather conditions or if any repairs are needed, outages (weather event plus restoration time) could last longer. For planning purposes, we suggest preparing for multiple-day outages.
Prepare for a PSPS
Where do I get the latest information?
Where do I get the latest information?
We will post updates regularly as they become available during a particular PSPS event, so we encourage you to check the PSPS Updates Page often
Visit the PSPS event page
Use the current outages map
- You can view current outages without entering an address.
- You can enter a specific address to check the status of an outage.
- You can use this tool without logging in to your account.
- PSPS events are marked by purple flags or purple polygons.
- Estimated time of power restoration will be included for each location as it becomes available.
IMPORTANT: These purple flags appear only after a PSPS has begun, as shown in this example:
Visit outage map
Download helpful resources
Wildfire Safety resources
Wildfire Recovery Support
Wildfire Safety Webinars
Public Safety Power Shutoff resources
Frequently Asked Questions
Potential Outage Map
Live Outage Map
Humboldt Local Power Source Project (PDF 1.7MB)
Other PG&E resources
Medical Baseline Program
Safety Action Center
Weather and PSPS 7-Day Forecast
Community Wildfire Safety Program resources
Wildfire Mitigation Plan
System Inspections Program
Enhanced Vegetation Management
Find out what California’s largest energy companies are doing to address the threat of wildfire and Public Safety Power Shutoffs.