PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoff and Preparing For Extended Power Outages
Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) has announced that, as part of its Community Wildfire Safety Program, they are implementing a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) program as an additional precautionary measure 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 our community, it may be necessary for PG&E to turn off electricity in the interest of public safety. While Public Safety Power Shutoffs are more likely to occur in high fire-risk areas, a shutoff could impact other areas as well and are likely to last multiple days. That is why it is important to prepare an emergency plan and kit in advance in the event your family is affected by a power shutoff--or any other emergency.
PG&E has stated that it intends to provide customers with 48 hours advanced notice via phone call, text, or email. However, weather conditions can change quickly, and PG&E may unable to fully execute their noticing protocols. After the extreme weather event has passed, PG&E will conduct inspections and any necessary repairs before power can be restored. Please review PG&E's PSPS information available through the link above, and follow the tips, as well as other information and links provided below, to receive the most up to date information from PG&E. Please note that this is not a Town of Corte Madera program and this web page may not contain the most recent information.
Information about the PG&E Community Wildfire Safety Program can be viewed here and the PSPS Fact Sheet (PDF) can be viewed here. PG&E's PSPS Program website also contains links to emergency preparedness information and other printable resources to help you prepare yourself, your family, friends and neighbors for potential prolonged power outages.
- PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoff Frequently Asked Questions
- PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoff Fact Sheet (English)
- PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoff Fact Sheet (Spanish)
- PSPS Preparedness Brochure
- PG&E Emergency Preparedness Kit Website
- PSA from CA Fire Foundation on 5-Minute Evacuation Plan (MP3 in English)
- PSA from CA Fire Foundation on 5-Minute Evacuation Plan (MP3 in Spanish)
Town Council Presentation: At the August 20, 2019 Town Council meeting, the Town Council received a presentation from PG&E regarding the Public Safety Power Shutoff Program and that presentation can be viewed here.
When will a shutoff occur?
PG&E determines the shutoff in coordination with the National Weather Service to reduce the risk of PG&E lines staring a fire. Criteria is:
- Temperatures over 80 degrees
- Humidity less than 20% and poor overnight recovery from heat
- Winds over 25 mph
PG&E will send an email to all registered customers 48 hours before a planned shutoff and again 24 hours before shutoff. Shutoff involves turning off a transmission line. Transmission lines will shut down the area with a high fire danger and likely the surrounding communities. You may wish to consider following the company's Twitter and Facebook pages.
Visit the contact information page on the PG&E website to verify that PG&E has your current contact information
PG&E maintains a webpage that provides a 7-day forecast for potential Public Safety Power Shutoff incidents based on weather conditions. Users can find their zone and determine whether PSPS are forecast for their area.
As part of its efforts to prepare customers and communities for the growing threat of wildfire, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has launched a robust weather webpage on pge.com, providing detailed, localized forecasts. Of special note, the page offers a seven-day, look-ahead regional forecast updated daily by a PG&E meteorologist or fire scientist that indicates the potential need to call a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS). PG&E monitors conditions across our system and evaluates whether to proactively turn off electric power lines, in the interest of public safety, if gusty winds and dry conditions, combined with a heightened fire risk, threaten a portion of the electric system.
That PG&E 7-Day PSPS Potential forecast will provide an instantaneous sense of what’s going on and what’s ahead. The forecast encompasses nine geographic regions of PG&E’s service area and four levels of PSPS potential:
- Not Expected – Conditions that generally warrant a PSPS event are not expected at this time.
- Elevated – An upcoming event, typically a period of adverse weather combined with dry fuels, is being monitored for an increased potential of a PSPS event.
- PSPS Watch – PG&E’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is now activated based upon a reasonable chance of executing a PSPS to reduce public safety risk in a given geographic zone due to a combination of adverse weather and dry fuel conditions. A PSPS watch is typically only issued within 72 hours before the anticipated start of an event.
- PSPS Warning – Customers in areas being considered for a PSPS have been or are being notified. This level indicates execution of a PSPS is probable given the latest forecast of weather and fuels and/or observed conditions. PSPS is typically executed in smaller and more targeted areas than the PG&E Geographic Zones. This level does not guarantee a PSPS execution as conditions and forecasts might change.
Preparing for a PSPS
- Make sure your PG&E billing information contains your current contact information to receive notifications.
- Plan for medical needs, like devices that use batteries/require power or medications that need to be refrigerated. Visit PG&E's Medical Baseline Program page for more information about the program, resources available, and how to apply.
- Prepare backup charging methods for phones or other devices
- Keep hard copies of emergency numbers
- Create or restock a home emergency kit that includes fresh batteries, flashlights, cash, and first aid supplies
- Know how to manually open your garage door
- Plan for the needs of your pets
- Ensure backup generators are ready and safe to use
- Sign up for emergency alert notifications: PG&E Wildfire Alerts, Alert Marin Emergency Notifications, Central Marin Police Nixle Alerts
- For additional wildfire and emergency preparedness tips, visit the following pages:
- PG&E has also established a Safety Action Center web page in order to provide helpful information about wildfire risks and what you can do before, during and after an emergency to keep your family safe.
Medical Baseline Customers
Through PG&E's Medical Baseline Program, customers who have special energy needs due to qualifying medical conditions can receive extra notifications in advance of a PSPS and also receive a lower rate on their monthly energy bill. To enroll in the Medical Baseline Program, customers must complete an application that includes fields that must be completed by their doctor. The application is available on the PG&E website.
Visit the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to learn about Medicare coverage in disasters and emergencies.
Other Useful Information and Links Provided By PG&E
- Impacts and Preparedness for Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) – https://www.pge.com/wildfiresafety
- Emergency Preparedness – https://www.pge.com/emergencypreparedness
- Inspecting and removing vegetation growing into or threatening electric lines – https://www.pge.com/enhancedveg
- Inspecting our Distribution and Transmission lines – https://www.pge.com/wildfireinspections
- Mapping information available to the public – https://www.pge.com/pspseventmaps
- Interactive CPUC Fire-Threat Map – https://ia.cpuc.ca.gov/firemap/