SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.— Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) continues to monitor a dry offshore wind event impacting small, targeted portions of PG&E’s service area. As a result of this wind event, combined with extreme to exceptional drought conditions and extremely dry vegetation, PG&E began sending one-day advance notifications Wednesday morning to customers in areas where PG&E may need to proactively turn off power for safety to reduce the risk of wildfire from energized power lines.
PG&E issued these “PSPS Watch” notifications for approximately 16,000 customers in targeted portions of 12 counties. This potential PSPS event does appear to be weaker than the October 11 event but will still result in critical fire weather conditions across the northern Sierra, western Sacramento Valley and portions of the elevated Bay Area as well as portions of the far South.
PG&E is notifying customers of the possible PSPS in case forecasted wind speeds still pose a wildfire risk. With the potential PSPS event one day 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 and will share additional customer notifications as conditions evolve.
Customer notifications—via text, email and automated phone call—began today, one day 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 www.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. Details about customer support programs are available at www.pge.com/pspsupdates.
Potentially Affected Counties
Potentially affected customers by county are as follows:
- Butte County: 938 customers, 83 Medical Baseline customers
- Colusa County: 553 customers, 38 Medical Baseline customers
- Glenn County: 376 customers, 22 Medical Baseline customers
- Kern County: 655 customers, 34 Medical Baseline customers
- Lake County: 1,696 customers, 112 Medical Baseline customers
- Napa County: 3,317 customers, 150 Medical Baseline customers
- Plumas County: 409 customers, 7 Medical Baseline customers
- Shasta County: 4,768 customers, 419 Medical Baseline customers
- Solano County: 1,355 customers, 97 Medical Baseline customers
- Sonoma County: 144 customers, 3 Medical Baseline customers
- Tehama County: 1,228 customers, 126 Medical Baseline customers
- Yolo County: 405 customers, 13 Medical Baseline customers
Approximately 60 total customers are potentially in scope in the tribal areas of Grindstone Rancheria, Mooretown Rancheria, and Pitt River Tribes.
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 attempt to make individual, in person visits when possible with a primary focus on customers who rely on electricity for critical life-sustaining equipment.
Public Safety Power Shutoffs: What PG&E Customers Should Know
Why PG&E Calls a PSPS Event
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.
This year, PG&E’s decision-making process is evolving to also account for the presence of trees tall enough to strike power lines when determining if a PSPS event is necessary. Every wildfire season is different, and the ongoing drought and the conditions will determine the number of times PG&E will need to shut off power, without compromising safety.
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 event is necessary.
Where to Learn More
- PG&E’s emergency website www.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 http://www.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 www.pge.com/pspszipcodealerts.
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 events 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 events
- 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
Ongoing PG&E Wildfire Mitigation and Resiliency Efforts
PG&E’s ongoing safety work to enhance grid resilience and address the growing threat of severe weather and wildfires continues on a risk-based and data-driven basis, as outlined in its 2021 Wildfire Mitigation Plan.
About PG&E Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is a combined natural gas and electric utility serving more than 16 million people across 70,000 square miles in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit pge.pge.com and pge.com/news.