More Than 100,000 PG&E Customers Update Contact Information, Sign up for Emergency Alerts, Prepare for Wildfires and Extreme Weather
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) customers are responding to the energy company’s call-to-action to update their contact information, as part of a campaign encouraging customers to have a plan for the growing threat of climate-driven extreme weather and wildfires.
To help educate customers from Bakersfield to the Oregon border, PG&E has mailed letters and postcards and sent emails to more than 570,000 homes and businesses served by electric lines that run through high fire-threat areas. The company is informing customers that it may be necessary for PG&E to temporarily turn off power as a last resort for safety if extreme fire danger conditions occur.
More than 100,000 PG&E customers so far have updated their mobile numbers, email addresses and other contact information so PG&E can communicate with them through important wildfire safety alerts.
“With the 2018 wildfire season off to the worst start in 10 years, we all need to be better prepared to stay emergency-ready and keep our families and friends safe,” said Laurie Giammona, PG&E Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer. “We are asking our customers who live in or near high fire-threat areas to be sure we have their latest contact information so we can do our best to reach them in advance of a potential Public Safety Power Shutoff event.”
The Public Safety Power Shutoff program is one of many additional precautionary safety measures that the company is putting in place as part of its Community Wildfire Safety Program, intended to further reduce wildfire threats and strengthen communities for the future.
Wildfire Safety Alerts
Extreme weather threats can change quickly. PG&E’s goal, dependent on weather and other factors, is to send customer alerts through automated calls, texts and emails at 48 hours, again at 24 hours, and again just prior to shutting off power.
In addition to notifying customers directly, PG&E will provide outage updates and information through community channels such as social media, local news, radio and the pge.com website.
Importantly, these advance notifications are for a potential Public Safety Power Shutoff event to help reduce the risk of wildfire during the most extreme fire danger conditions. But loss of power can happen for a variety of reasons like storms or emergency response and there is no advance notice when PG&E needs to turn off power at the request of a first responder agency due to an active wildfire or other emergency response situation.
How Customers Can Take Action
PG&E thanks those customers who have taken action to ensure they will receive its wildfire safety alerts. For customers who have not yet confirmed or updated their contact information, PG&E strongly encourages everyone to do so by logging on at pge.com/mywildfirealerts or by calling the PG&E contact center (1-866-743-6589).
Customers can visit pge.com/wildfiresafety to enter their address and find out if their home or business is served by an electric line that may be turned off for safety during high wildfire threats (click on “Check Your Address” under the “Shutting Off Power For Safety” tab). Customers will also find tips on preparing their own emergency plans.
PG&E Installs 100th New Weather Station in 2018, Network Helps Bolster Wildfire Prevention and Response Efforts
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.— Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) reached an important milestone this month, installing its 100th new weather station this year and further enhancing its capacity to capture additional meteorological data to better predict where extreme wildfire danger could occur. The expansion is part of the additional safety precautions following the 2017 wildfires that PG&E is taking as part of its Community Wildfire Safety Program, intended to further reduce wildfire threats and keep its customers, their families and communities safe.
Since January of this year, PG&E has installed more than 100 new weather stations, of an expected approximately 200 new stations in high fire-threat areas across its service area by the end of the year. Counties that have received new weather stations so far this year include Alameda, Butte, Calaveras, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Sonoma and Tuolumne.
Data collected by these stations is streamed in real time and available to state and local agencies and the public through online sources such as the National Weather Service, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and MesoWest.
“With these new, additional weather stations, PG&E is able to capture additional real-time data related to temperature, wind speeds and humidity levels to provide improved awareness of current fire danger conditions,” said Kevin Dasso, PG&E vice president of Electric Asset Management. “Our team of meteorologists and wildfire safety experts will use this data to determine any needed actions the company can take to help reduce wildfire risks.”
Public Safety Power Shutoff
One of the actions PG&E may take, as a last resort during extreme fire danger conditions, is temporarily turning off electric power lines for safety. No single factor will drive a Public Safety Power Shutoff. PG&E will take a combination of many criteria into consideration, including:
• “Extreme” fire danger threat level as classified by the National Fire Danger Rating System
• A Red Flag Warning declared by the National Weather Service
• Low humidity levels, generally 20 percent and below
• Sustained winds above approximately 25 mph and wind gusts in excess of approximately 45 mph
• Site-specific conditions such as temperature, terrain and local climate
• Critically dry vegetation that could serve as fuel for a wildfire
• On-the-ground, real-time observations from PG&E field crews
PG&E has alerted more than 570,000 homes and businesses served by electric lines in extreme-fire threat areas about the Public Safety Power Shutoff program, encouraging customers to visit pge.com/wildfiresafety for information about how to prepare. Customers are also asked to update their contact information at pge.com/mywildfirealerts to receive important wildfire safety alerts in the event PG&E needs to take this step for safety.
San Joaquin Regional Transit District (RTD) to introduce “RTD VanGo!” at multiple locations in San Joaquin County
SEATTLE — At a press conference today in Seattle’s International District, the Ethnic Chambers of Commerce Coalition (ECCC) announced their support of Yes! To Affordable Groceries, Washington State Initiative 1634, which will prohibit new, local taxes on food and beverages.
“Small businesses in the Seattle area are already carrying more than their fair share of the tax burden. We have to stop these regressive taxes that weigh down our small business economy,” said Martha Lee, who serves as the ECCC president, as well as a board member and former president of the Greater Seattle Chinese Chamber of Commerce.
The ECCC is a coalition of ten ethnic chambers of commerce which, when combined, represent thousands of businesses around the Seattle region.
Mike Sotelo, president of the King County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said I-1634 is important to his members. “There are already more than 1,300 small businesses around Washington that have endorsed I-1634. For them it’s a no-brainer: They’re operating on thin margins and can’t afford unfair taxes.”
While the Washington state government doesn’t currently collect taxes on food and beverages, there is a loophole in the law that allows local governments to impose taxes on groceries, which hits working families the hardest. The Seattle City Council was able to exploit this loophole in crafting a tax on beverages in 2017. But while this tax targeted beverages, prices on other products have also increased throughout the city as business owners have attempted to implement the complicated policy.
I-1634 takes a proactive step to close this loophole and prevent any new taxes on food, beverages and their ingredients in Washington. It does not reverse or impact the Seattle tax nor any revenue streams that have already been passed by local governments. .
“This initiative is about protecting people from a barrage of taxes like Seattle’s from being repeated throughout the state that not only impact working peoples’ pocketbooks, but also threaten local businesses and their jobs,” added Daniel Kim, executive director of Korean-American Grocers of Washington (KAGRO), a co-filer of I-1634.
The ECCC joins a strong coalition of organizational partners including the Washington Food Industry Association, the Joint Council of Teamsters No. 28, the Washington Farm Bureau, Washington Retail Association and many more.
Paid for by Yes! to Affordable Groceries, supported by the Joint Council of Teamsters No. 28, Washington Farm Bureau, Washington Food Industry Association, and Korean-American Grocer’s Association of Washington, and sponsored by the American Beverage Association. Top 5 contributors: Washington Food Industry Association; The Coca-Cola Company; PepsiCo, Inc.; Keurig Dr Pepper, and Red Bull North America. PO Box 50705, Bellevue, Washington, 98015.