PG&E’s public safety power shutoff
Going forward, one of the actions Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) may take, as a last resort during extreme fire danger conditions, is temporarily turning off electric power lines for safety. No single factor will drive a “Public Safety Power Shutoff,” a new policy announced in September. PG&E will take a combination of many criteria into consideration, including:
• “Extreme” fire danger threat level as classified by the National Fire Danger Rating System
• A Red Flag Warning declared by the National Weather Service
• Low humidity levels, generally 20 percent and below
• Sustained winds above approximately 25 mph and wind gusts in excess of approximately 45 mph
• Site-specific conditions such as temperature, terrain and local climate
• Critically dry vegetation that could serve as fuel for a wildfire
• On-the-ground, real-time observations from PG&E field crews
If PG&E needs to turn off power for safety, it will be limited to neighborhoods or communities served by electric lines that run through areas experiencing extreme fire danger conditions. PG&E will turn the power back on as soon as it is safe to do so. The most likely electric lines to be considered for shutting off for safety will be those in areas that have been designated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) as at extreme risk for wildfire.
For planning purposes, PG&E suggests customers served by electric lines in extreme fire-threat areas consider their service may need to be turned off one to two times during wildfire season, although it is impossible to predict future weather conditions in the “new normal” of extreme weather events. While in most cases PG&E would expect to be able to restore power within 24 hours after the extreme weather has passed and inspections have begun, outages could last multiple days depending on conditions.
Customers are also asked to update their contact information at pge.com/mywildfirealerts to receive important wildfire safety alerts in the event PG&E needs to take this step for safety.
For more information, go to www.pge.com/wildfiresafety/.