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September 25, 2020 – PG&E has broken up their territory into nine zones and issues watches and warnings regarding potential power shutoffs by zone. But, not all areas in a zone might be affected. How come?
According to PG&E’s PSPS Weather map page, “The forecast is broken down by broad PG&E Geographic Zones numbered 1 – 9; however, PSPS decisions are made at more granular levels; thus, only a portion of a zone may experience a PSPS event.”
PG&E’s stated effort for this season is to make PSPS events “smaller, shorter and smarter.” Refining where to proactively shut power off reduces the overall impact on their customers.
The daily PG&E forecast and PSPS potential should not be confused with the National Weather Service’s weather forecasts and warnings. A Red Flag Warning issued by the National Weather Service does not automatically lead to a PSPS.
PG&E’s forecast is published by an operational meteorologist from PG&E’s Meteorology and Analytics team, specifically tailored to assess the risk to the utility’s infrastructure from weather events. “This forecast only provides a broad overview for a potential Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) event in the next 7 days as determined from an analysis of forecasted weather, the potential for wind-related damage, and fuel moisture content in dead and live vegetation. It is not a fire danger forecast.”
Make sure to register with the utility to receive notifications about potential PSPS events and, of course, check your local media for updates.