Aerial, Vehicle and Ground Patrols Confirm at Least Four Instances of Damage or Hazards to Electric Equipment That Could Have Sparked Fires
PG&E Meteorologists Continue to Monitor Dynamic Weather Conditions for Potential Second PSPS Event of the Week Beginning Early Thursday
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has restored power to essentially all 25,000 customers in small portions of about 20 counties affected by the Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) that started Monday evening (Oct. 11).
In addition, PG&E is continuing to monitor another weather system expected to bring dry offshore winds to Northern and Central California. Given this latest wind event, PG&E may need to call a second PSPS this week to reduce wildfire risk.
Earlier today, PG&E sent two-day advance notifications to approximately 29,000 customers in small, targeted portions of 19 counties and four tribes who could be affected by this next PSPS, which could begin early Thursday.
Monday’s PSPS By the Numbers
For Monday’s PSPS event, PG&E safely restored power after patrolling all 2,549 miles of lines that were de-energized for safety which is equivalent to the driving distance from San Francisco to Detroit. The patrol and inspection efforts included nearly 1,494 on-the-ground personnel and 43 helicopters.
Wind gusts in PSPS de-energized areas with some of the largest customer impacts were observed as follows: 55 mph in Butte County; 52 mph in Shasta County; and 47 mph in Tehama County.
In areas where PG&E crews found equipment that was damaged by the offshore wind event, crews worked safely and as quickly as possible to make the repairs and restore those customers.
Preliminary data shows at least four instances of weather-related damage and hazards in the PSPS-affected areas, including vegetation on lines. If PG&E had not de-energized powerlines, these types of damages could have caused wildfire ignitions.
To support its customers during the shutoff, PG&E opened 24 Community Resource Centers in affected areas—offering snacks, water, and other essential items. PG&E also partnered with community-based organizations to assist customers with medical and independent living needs.
Details about customer support programs are available at www.pge.com/pspsupdates.
Upcoming Public Safety Power Shutoff: What PG&E Customers Should Know Why PG&E Calls a PSPS Event
PG&E initiates Public Safety Power Shutoffs (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.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric energy companies in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 23,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit pge.com and pge.com/news.