August 14, 2019 – Tomorrow, PG&E will conduct a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) drill, using helicopters, to practice response during a PSPS event. Power will not be interrupted during the drill.
Given the continued and growing threat of extreme weather and wildfires, and as an additional precautionary measure following the 2017 and 2018 wildfires, we are expanding and enhancing our Community Wildfire Safety Program to further reduce wildfire risks and help keep our customers and the communities we serve safe.
In response to the rapidly changing environmental conditions in our state, this includes expanding our Public Safety Power Shutoff program to include all electric lines that pass through high fire-threat areas – both distribution and transmission. In the event of extreme weather, we will proactively de-energize the lines, shutting off power, for the safety to those communities.
During an actual PSPS, crews will inspect every part of the de-energized lines from the sky and from the ground, to identify and repair damage, before restoring power.
PG&E crews are practicing those inspections with these drills, to improve the time it takes to turn the power back on safely. As part of the drills, a helicopter will be patrolling the lines in the vicinity of Browns Valley in Yuba County and surrounding areas Thursday, Aug. 15. Those in the Browns Valley area may see additional PG&E and contractor trucks during the same time.
PG&E knows how much customers rely on electric service and that there are safety risks on both sides. We understand and appreciate that turning off the power affects first responders and the operation of critical facilities, communications systems and much more.