PG&E Might Proactively Shut Off Power for Safety Due to Fire Danger Conditions

PG&E Press Release

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On Friday, PG&E  said it might be proactively turning power off for safety and conducting a Public Safety Power Shutoff in several Northern California counties within the next 18 to 36 hours. To help reduce the risk of wildfire and keep our customers, their families and their homes and businesses safe, the company may be turning off power in areas of the North Bay and the Sierra foothills where extreme fire risks exist.

PG&E is working directly with CAL FIRE, Cal OES, and other state and local agencies to help prepare for this potential safety event.  This morning, the National Weather Service has issued Red Flag Warnings for the Central Valley and the North Bay Hills, starting either Friday evening or Saturday morning and lasting until Sunday afternoon.

“We know how much our customers rely on electric service and would only consider temporarily turning off power in the interest of safety during extreme weather conditions,” said Michael Lewis, PG&E’s senior vice president of Electric Operations.

Potential timing and locations

For the North Bay, there is the potential for a Public Safety Power Shutoff affecting several thousand customers starting around 6 a.m. on Saturday. The peak period of fire risk lasts until around 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Areas where power might be shut off:

  • Napa County: Portions of Napa, Lake Berryessa
  • Solano County: Portions of Suisun City, Vacaville, Winters
  • Yolo County: Portions of Davis, Winters

For the Sierra foothills, there is the potential for a Public Safety Power Shutoff affecting about 21,000 customers starting around 9 p.m. on Saturday with the peak period of fire risk lasting until 10 a.m. on Sunday.

Areas where power might be shut off:

  • Butte County: Portions of Paradise, Oroville, Bangor, Forest Ranch, Chico, Berry Creek, Palermo
  • Yuba County: Portions of Browns Valley, Oregon House, Marysville, Wheatland, Rackerby
  • Nevada County: Portions of Auburn, Grass Valley, Smartville, Rough and Ready, Penn Valley
  • El Dorado County: Portions of Pilot Hill, Greenwood, Georgetown, Cool
  • Placer County: Portions of Lincoln

If you live in these communities, PG&E will attempt to contact you via telephone, text and email.

Public Safety Power Shutoff criteria 

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:

  • 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 fuel on the ground and live vegetation (moisture content)
  • On-the-ground, real-time observations from PG&E’s Wildfire Safety Operations Center and observations from PG&E field crews

Customer notifications

PG&E remains committed to providing notice to customers in advance of a Public Safety

Power Shutoff, when possible. The company’s goal, dependent on weather, is to send customer alerts prior to shutting off power. PG&E will do so through automated calls, texts and emails. The company will also use pge.com and social media channels, and keep local news and radio outlets informed and updated.

The cadence and frequency of notifications will depend, however, on the forecasted extreme weather conditions and how quickly those threats change, among other factors.

How our customers can prepare 

As part of these preparedness efforts, PG&E is asking customers to:

  • Update their contact information at com/mywildfirealerts or by calling 1-866-743-6589 during normal business hours. PG&E will use this information to alert customers through automated calls, texts, and emails, when possible, prior to, and during, a Public Safety Power Shutoff.
  • Plan for medical needs like medications that require refrigeration or devices that need power.
  • Identify backup charging methods for phones and keep hard copies of emergency numbers.
  • Build or restock your emergency kit with flashlights, fresh batteries, first aid supplies and cash.
  • Keep in mind family members who are elderly, younger children and pets. Information and tips including a safety plan checklist are available at com/wildfiresafety.

Inspections and restoration of power 

After the extreme weather has passed and it is safe to do so, PG&E crews will work to visually inspect each mile of the impacted power lines to ensure they are free from damage and safe to energize.

Inspections will take place during daylight hours and, in most cases, PG&E expects to be able to restore power within 24 to 48 hours after extreme weather has passed. However, depending on weather conditions or if any repairs are needed, outages (weather event plus restoration time) could last longer than 48 hours. For planning purposes, PG&E suggests customers prepare for multiple-day outages.

Like a winter storm outage, during a Public Safety Power Shutoff, outage information, including maps showing which areas may by impacted, will be available on pge.com.

 Learn more

For more information about The Power of Being Prepared, and additional steps customers can take to prepare for wildfire season and Public Safety Power Shutoffs, visit www.prepareforpowerdown.com.

Email Currents at [email protected].


3 COMMENTS

  1. Don’t worry folks. I’m sure PG&E will reimburse you for the food you lose. Just trim the freaking trees already. For me I have fish that require temperature control. Hard to replace a dead pet.

  2. The climate of our planet is changing, extreme weather events are wreaking havoc and actually killing people at an ever increasing rate, meanwhile the current leader of the free world our President is doing everything he can to block any effort to do anything about it and devotes as much time on camera as he can to deny what is blatantly obvious to most people who are paying attention. This is going to get worse, our children are in for a rough ride in coming years, clearly we need a more clear thinking forward looking intelligent leader to address these issues instead of calling it ‘fake news’, it’s time to get real and get rid of the clown in the oval office.

  3. White House officials reportedly blocked a State Department intelligence aide from submitting written testimony to the House Intelligence Committee on the dangers of climate change because some references in the document contradicted the Trump administration’s official stance on the matter. Senior administration officials cited by The Washington Post said Trump officials tried to cut several pages from the testimony because it did not “jibe” with the White House’s understanding of climate science. The 12-page testimony reportedly warned of how greenhouse gas emissions are raising temperatures across the globe and causing a surge in extreme weather. The intelligence aide trying to submit the testimony, Rod Schoonover, works in the State Department’s office of geography and global affairs and had sought to include the documents in a hearing on Wednesday. The White House Office of Legislative Affairs allowed Schoonover to testify before the panel but ultimately barred him from submitting his written testimony, according to officials cited by the Post

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