As part of our Community Wildfire Safety Program, PG&E is implementing additional precautionary measures to help reduce the risk of wildfires. For public safety, it may be necessary for us to turn off electricity when extreme fire danger conditions are forecasted. This is called a "Public Safety Power Shutoff."
In response to the rapidly changing environmental conditions in our state, beginning with the 2019 wildfire season, we are expanding our Public Safety Power Shutoff program to include all electric lines that pass through high fire-threat areas – both distribution and transmission. While customers in high fire-threat areas are more likely to be affected, any of PG&E’s more than 5 million electric customers could have their power shut off if their community relies upon a line that passes through a high fire-threat area.
We know how much our customers rely on electric service. We will only turn off lines as a last resort in the interest of safety, to help reduce the likelihood of an ignition when extreme fire danger conditions are forecasted.
We want to work together with our customers and communities to help you prepare and keep your home, family or business safe during extreme weather and possible outages. Please make sure we have your correct email address, landline number and mobile number so we can reach out to you in advance of a public safety power outage, when and where possible.
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 complete 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 many 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, your power may be shut off if your community relies upon a line that runs through an area experiencing extreme fire danger conditions.
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 know of a backup location you can go 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 ensure you receive this important information and have 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, you’ll receive notifications in three phases:
No. We will reach out to all impacted customers using all contact methods available.
You cannot opt out of any of the advance (48-hour, 24-hour or shutoff) notifications. 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.
No. During a Public Safety Power Shutoff, power cannot be rotated because the outage is specific to lines running through areas experiencing extreme fire danger conditions.
Rotating block outages are implemented when there is not enough power generation to meet demand and can be done geographically, whereas a Public Safety Power Shutoff is only implemented as a last resort when the most extreme weather conditions are forecasted.
We know how important electric service is to our customers, so turning off your electricity will only be done as a last resort. Public Safety Power Shutoff outages could last for several days. Crews will need to wait for winds and weather conditions to improve before they can go out to inspect equipment. If repairs are necessary, turning electricity back on for your area could take several days. Please ensure you have an emergency preparedness plan in place.
Just like each day’s weather, circumstances for each Public Safety Power Shutoff will be unique. The outage, which includes the weather event plus restoration time, could last several days. We will only restore power when we are certain it is safe to do so.
For planning purposes, we suggest customers prepare for multiple-day outages.
We do not reimburse customers for losses, as power will be shut off for safety due to extreme fire conditions. 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 further enhancing vegetation management around power lines, conducting accelerated safety inspections of electric infrastructure in high fire-threat areas and a critical hardening of our electric system.
It is important to note that we will only turn off power as a last resort in the interest of safety if extreme fire danger conditions are forecasted.
This PG&E program has established precautionary measures to help further reduce the risk of wildfires and keep the customers and communities we serve safe. Our goal is to help customers prepare for and stay safe during extreme weather events, including sending notifications when and where possible when power may be turned off for safety.