Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS)
During extreme weather, or other extreme fire danger conditions, California’s utility companies, including PG&E, may need to turn off power to certain areas, to reduce the risk of wildfires. These proactive power outages are known as Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS):
The most current information regarding PG&E's Community Wildfire Safety Program, which includes use of proactive Public Safety Power Shutoffs, when deemed necessary due to weather and other factors, is available on their Community Wildfire Safety page.
PG&E's PSPS Forecasts, which discuss whether and where in PG&E's service territory PSPS events are being contemplated in the next 7 days, are available on their Weather Monitoring Awareness page.
When PSPS events are ongoing, information regarding locally available resources is available to Lake County residents by dialing 211.
On September 28, 2021, three company representatives provided a substantive Lake County-focused update on PG&E's Community Wildfire Safety Program: Ron Richardson, Regional Vice President of North Coast division; Carl Schoenhofer, Senior Manager of Humboldt Division (Lake, Mendocino, and Humboldt Counties); and Melinda Rivera, Local Government Affairs, Lake County and Sonoma County.
The Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) Ad Hoc Committee was formed November 5, 2019, and is working to develop, propose and demand solutions to PG&E-imposed Public Safety Power Shutoffs. This multi-jurisdictional committee, with representation from the County and Cities of Clearlake and Lakeport, drafts communications and advocates for Lake County residents' needs.
Lake County's Health Services Department strives to regularly inform the public regarding what healthcare services are available in our communities during PSPS Events. View the most recent Healthcare Services Resource Information (PDF).
With numerous recent PSPS events and upcoming weather-related concerns, Lake County residents are encouraged to Prepare Now. When PSPS events occur, some customers may be affected and without power for up to five days.
Stay Up-to-Date on Social Media
Please monitor the following links for the most current information, including locations of Community Resource Centers in Lake County, when applicable:
- PG&E Twitter - @PGE4Me
- PG&E Newsroom (RSS Available)
- Lake County Office of Emergency Services (OES) Facebook
- County of Lake, California Facebook
- CalOES Facebook
All of these Social Media feeds are set for public viewing. You do not need to have a Facebook or Twitter account to access these frequently updated sources of information.
Community Resource Centers
It is very important that all understand PG&E's Community Resource Centers (CRC) are not the same as the shelters the County and partners stand up when we experience a wildfire:
- CRC are not typical disaster shelters, and do not provide overnight lodging, for example
- Basic services, such as bottled water and power strips to charge devices are expected to be available: What to Expect at a PG&E CRC (PDF)
Please be kind to PG&E's workers in the field. They do not make the policy decisions that result in disruptions to availability of power, and they must be able to do their work efficiently to limit the duration of PSPS Events. Thank you for showing PG&E employees and all people the best of consideration!
Communicate Non-Emergency Concerns
If you are personally affected by a PSPS Event, you can communicate non-emergency concerns to the Board of Supervisors by email.
Be Aware, Get Informed
While PG&E hopes to notify affected customers 48 hours in advance of any PSPS, fire threats and other extreme conditions can quickly change, and actual notice may be significantly less than 48 hours.
If PG&E and public officials do not have your current contact information, we may not be able to reach you. We must be able to effectively alert you in any PSPS or disaster. Sign up today!
- Who will be subject to PSPS?
Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) plans to proactively shut off power when extreme fire danger conditions are present. These events are known as Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS). Areas that have been determined Elevated or Extreme Risk Areas for Wildfire are more likely to be subject to a PSPS. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has published maps and information on their Fire Safety Rulemaking process.
Because of the interconnectedness of the State's electrical grid, even those who do not live in designated Elevated or Extreme risk areas may lose power for an extended period.
- How long do PSPS events last?
In a webinar hosted June 26, 2019 Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) officials noted that weather events requiring proactive power shutoff have historically been, "1 day or less in duration," but cautioned that California residents should "Be prepared for 48 hour outages, potentially even longer."
As the Lake County Record-Bee and other outlets have reported, PG&E has Publicly Stated Proactive Outages Could Last as Long as 5 Days.
Limited daylight hours may present challenges as the fall season progresses, and "Diablo winds," which are among the factors that could prompt a PSPS affecting Lake County, are historically most common in early summer and fall.
- Are PSPS events a new normal in California?
Per Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), San Diego Gas and Electric Company (SDG&E) pioneered the PSPS approach in California, and over time, through enhanced technology and other measures, they have been able to reduce the total impact of PSPS events.
SDG&E has been able to isolate shutoffs to narrower areas than is presently possible with PG&E's electrical infrastructure. However, SDG&E has yet to be able to entirely eliminate the PSPS as a tool.
PG&E, likewise, hopes to decrease the impact of PSPS events, over time, and they are taking proactive measures in their maintenance work to harden their grid and reduce the need to proactively shut off power. Techniques known to limit fire risk, such as undergrounding of wires, are also being employed in new infrastructure development, when feasible.
Learn more about the PG&E Wildfire Safety Program.
- How does Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) decide to proactively shut off power?
When considering turning off electric power lines for public safety, PG&E's Wildfire Safety Operations Center monitors a set of factors, including (per PG&E):
- Red Flag Warning, declared by the National Weather Service
- Low humidity levels, generally 20% and below
- Forecasted sustained sinds, generally Above 25 mph, and wind gusts in excess of approximately 45 mph, depending on location and site-specific conditions such as temperature, terrain and local climate
- Condition of dry fuel on the ground and live vegetation (moisture content)
- On-the-ground, real-time observations from PG&E's WSOC and field observations from PG&E crews
- PG&E PSPS Policies and Procedures (PDF)
- PG&E PSPS Fact Sheet (PDF)
- PG&E PSPS Frequently Asked Questions
- California Wildfire Safety Program Preparedness Brochure (June 2019) (PDF)
- PG&E, More Information for Spanish Speakers (PDF)
- Statewide Fact Sheet (English) (PDF)
- Statewide Fact Sheet (Spanish) (PDF)
- Prepare for Power Down
- What is a PSPS?
Pacific Gas and Electric's 3-minute video explainer - Video Transcript (PDF).