Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) meteorologists are monitoring a potential weather system that could bring dry, gusty offshore winds to portions of the Northern, Central and Southern regions of the company’s service area beginning Monday morning.
Given this offshore wind event, combined with extreme to exceptional drought and extremely dry vegetation, PG&E is sending two-day advance notifications to approximately 44,000 customers in targeted portions of 32 counties and seven tribes where PG&E may need to implement a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) to reduce the risk of wildfire from energized power lines. Many counties will only have small portions of expected outages, some fewer than 100 customers.
Despite the potential for rain in some areas this weekend, PG&E is notifying customers of the possible PSPS in case rain doesn’t materialize or forecasted wind speeds still pose a wildfire risk. The potential shutoffs could begin Monday morning in portions of the North Valley, Sacramento, and San Joaquin Foothills. Potential shutoffs for the Northern Sierra Foothills, North Bay, North Coast regions, Bay Area hills and the Central Valley could begin Monday evening, depending on the timing of the wind event.
PG&E activated its Emergency Operations Center on Friday to support this weather event.
Customer notifications via text, email and automated phone call began Saturday, approximately two days prior to the potential shutoff. Customers can also look up their address online to find out if their location is being monitored for the potential safety shutoff at pge.com/pspsupdates.
During a PSPS, PG&E offers support to customers by opening Community Resource Centers with snacks, water and other essential items, partnering with community-based organizations to assist customers with medical and independent living needs; and continuing to update our customers on power restoration status.
Potentially Affected Counties
Potential County shutoffs beginning Monday morning:
- Alameda: 134 customers, 10 Medical Baseline customers
- Butte: 769 customers, 69 Medical Baseline customers
- Calaveras: 2,536 customers, 188 Medical Baseline
- Colusa: 566 customers, 39 Medical Baseline customers
- Contra Costa: 601 customers, 40 Medical Baseline customers
- El Dorado: 303 customers, 20 Medical Baseline customers
- Fresno: 5,008 customers, 436 Medical Baseline customers
- Glenn: 377 customers, 22 Medical Baseline customers
- Kern: 7 customers, 0 Medical Baseline customers
- Kings: 10 customers, 0 Medical Baseline customers
- Lake: 4,094 customers, 307 Medical Baseline customers
- Madera: 2,884 customers, 225 Medical Baseline customers
- Mariposa: 778 customers, 73 Medical Baseline customers
- Merced: 20 customers, 0 Medical Baseline customers
- Monterey: 845 customers, 27 Medical Baseline customers
- Napa: 2,207 customers, 107 Medical Baseline customers
- Nevada: 3 customers, 0 Medical Baseline customers
- Placer: 5,975 customers, 388 Medical Baseline customers
- Plumas: 309 customers, 4 Medical Baseline customers
- San Benito: 84 customers, 2 Medical Baseline customers
- San Joaquin: 2 customers, 0 Medical Baseline customers
- San Luis Obispo: 205 customers, 2 Medical Baseline customers
- Santa Barbara:19 customers, 1 Medical Baseline customer
- Shasta: 2,557customers, 197 Medical Baseline customers
- Sierra: 2 customers, 0 Medical Baseline customers
- Solano: 4,559 customers, 423 Medical Baseline customers
- Sonoma: 87 customers, 1 Medical Baseline customer
- Stanislaus: 145customers, 5 Medical Baseline customers
- Tehama: 6,148 customers, 624 Medical Baseline customers
- Tuolumne: 673 customers, 68 Medical Baseline customers
- Yolo: 515 customers, 16 Medical Baseline customers
- Yuba: 1,226 customers, 114 Medical Baseline customers
Potential affected tribal areas:
- Big Sandy Rancheria: 61 customers
- Cold Springs Rancheria of Mono Indians: 54 customers
- Cortina Rancheria: 8 customers
- Grindstone Rancheria: 50 customers
- North Fork Rancheria: 25 customers
- Pit River Tribes: 8 customers
- United Auburn Indian Community: 1 customer
If customers enrolled in the company’s Medical Baseline program do not verify that they have received these important safety communications, PG&E employees will conduct individual, in-person visits when possible with a primary focus on customers who rely on electricity for critical life-sustaining equipment.
With the potential PSPS two days away, conditions may change. PG&E’s in-house meteorologists, as well as its Wildfire Safety Operations Center and Emergency Operations Center, continue to closely monitor conditions. PG&E will share additional customer notifications as conditions evolve.
Public Safety Power Shutoffs: What PG&E Customers Should Know
Why PG&E Calls a PSPS Outage
PG&E initiates PSPS when the weather forecast calls for such severe weather that people’s safety, lives, homes and businesses may be in danger of wildfires.
As each weather situation is unique, PG&E carefully reviews a combination of factors when deciding if power must be turned off. These factors include:
- Low humidity levels, generally 30% and below.
- A forecast of high winds, particularly sustained winds above 20 miles per hour and wind gusts above 30-40 miles per hour.
- Condition of dry material on the ground and low moisture content of vegetation.
- A Red Flag Warning declared by the National Weather Service.
- Real-time ground observations from our Wildfire Safety Operations Center and from our crews working across the service territory.
Starting this year, PG&E’s decision-making process takes into account the presence of trees tall enough to strike power lines when determining if a PSPS is necessary. Every wildfire season is different, and the ongoing drought and dry conditions will determine the number of times PG&E will need to shut off power without compromising safety. We will always do our best to share what we know about the weather and our equipment as soon as we can, keeping in mind weather conditions can be uncertain.
This set of criteria is a first step that may lead to further analysis from PG&E’s meteorology team to determine if a PSPS is necessary.
Where to Learn More
- PG&E’s emergency website (pge.com/pspsupdates) is now available in 16 languages: English, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Russian, Vietnamese, Korean, Farsi, Arabic, Hmong, Khmer, Punjabi, Japanese, Thai, Portuguese, and Hindi. Customers will have the opportunity to choose their language of preference for viewing the information when visiting the website.
- Customers are encouraged to update their contact information and indicate their preferred language for notifications by visiting pge.com/mywildfirealerts or by calling 1-800-743-5000, where in-language support is available.
- Tenants and non-account holders can sign up to receive PSPS ZIP Code Alerts for any area where you do not have a PG&E account by visiting pge.com/pspszipcodealerts.
- At PG&E’s Safety Action Center (safetyactioncenter.pge.com) customers can prepare for emergencies. By using the “Make Your Own Emergency Plan” tool and answering a few short questions, visitors to the website can compile and organize the important information needed for a personalized family emergency plan. This includes phone numbers, escape routes and a family meeting location if an evacuation is necessary.
PG&E’s Commitment to Wildfire Safety
PG&E’s multi-faceted Community Wildfire Safety Program includes both immediate and long-term action plans to further reduce wildfire risk and keep its customers and communities safe.
Since 2018, PG&E’s wildfire safety work has resulted in:
- Multiple inspections of distribution, transmission, and substation equipment in high fire-threat areas
- Hardening more than 600 miles with stronger lines and poles to better withstand severe weather
- Conducting enhanced vegetation safety work on nearly 5,000-line miles in high fire-threat areas (this is in addition to the more than 5 million trees that PG&E has trimmed or removed as part of its routine vegetation management and tree mortality efforts)
- Installing more than 1,000 sectionalizing devices and switches that limit the size of PSPS outages that are necessary to mitigate the risk of wildfires
- Installing more than 1,150 advanced weather stations to help PG&E gather more data and information to better predict and respond to extreme weather threats
- Installing more than 400 high-definition cameras to monitor and respond to wildfires
- Reserving more than 65 helicopters to quickly restore power after severe weather during PSPS outages
- Monitoring wildfire threats in real-time through a dedicated team at PG&E’s Wildfire Safety Operations Center, which is staffed 24 hours a day during wildfire season