Occasionally, PG&E may find it necessary to shut down electrical grids that may be affected by strong winds or other environmental factors, such as extra dry or hot weather. These high-risk factors for fires and outages during summer and fall heatwaves are the basis for what PG&E calls a “Public Safety Power Shutoff,” or “PSPS” for short.
Customers in certain areas of California are more likely than others to have their power shutoff; however, anyone could be affected at any time at the discretion of PG&E. This is because their energy systems rely on the electric grid working across many cities, counties, and regions, and if any pieces fail, it would disrupt the energy for more people, for a greater length of time.
Outages typically last from a few hours to a few days, depending on the severity of environmental danger at hand.
The best thing to do before PG&E expects to shut off power is to prepare a safety plan for you and your family. It is wise to plan to not have electricity for a few days, as a worst case scenario, and prepare accordingly.
• Create a safety plan that can be implemented any time of day or night.
• Prepare an emergency supply kit with food, water, and nonperishable food to last one week.
• Keep mobile phones and other devices charged.
• Have flashlights available.
• Stock up on batteries.
• Keep cash on hand and a full tank of gas.
How Will PG&E Determine Shutting Off Power?
Every situation is different, which requires PG&E to take many factors into account. Typical factors include:
• Red Flag Warnings by the National Weather Service
• Low Humidity Levels (Below 20%)
• Forecasted Sustained Winds of 25+MPG
• Dry Fuel On The Ground or Live Vegetation
• Real-Time Observations by PG&E
How Often Will A PSPS Occur?
PG&E anticipates that a Public Safety Power Shutoff may occur several times a year within their service area. However, there is no certain way to predict every single time, as weather and environmental conditions can change rapidly.
How Will I Know If I Will Be Impacted?
The most likely areas that could be affected by the PSPS are PG&E electric lines that pass through the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) High Fire-Threat District Map. Communities outside of these designated areas may still also be affected if their power lines run through these high risk areas.
You can also follow your local news stations, as well as social media, to find out the latest information on any PSPS.
I Have Special/Medical Needs. Will I Be Affected?
Whenever there is a power outage, it affects all customers of PG&E. Facilities such as hospitals and public service stations remain open by operating on generators.
If you have special needs or medical support that require electricity, it is best to have an emergency preparedness plan just in case. Keep important contact information easily accessible, and consult with a physician for additional care and strategies, if need be.
One of the immense benefits of getting solar through Select Solar Pros is the elimination of dependency on utilities companies such as PG&E. While they do their best to accommodate the needs of millions of people, if there is a shutdown of any kind, their customers are at their mercy, and can do little to change things.
Solar panels by SunPower are custom-designed to fit the footprint of your house, and when paired with a custom-fit storage solution (such as SunPower SunVault or Tesla Powerwall) allow you to be completely energy independent, not relying on PG&E for the provision of electric power. You can rest assured that even when there are power outages, you will not be affected, and will be able to live life normally.
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