SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Pacific Gas & Electric Co. announced that it plans to issue advance watches and warnings ahead of potentially shutting off power to areas over wildfire risk.
After hearing from customers over past Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events, the utility announced this week that it would provide more details about when the power would go out and when electricity service would be restored.
“Our goal is to improve our PSPS notifications to help customers plan for an outage when we need to turn off power to reduce the risk of a major wildfire,” said PG&E senior vice president Laurie Giammona.
PG&E said affected customers would receive a PSPS Watch notification two days in advance of a potential power shutoff, along with the day before. The utility said customers who will have power shut off will receive a PSPS Warning between 4 to 12 hours ahead of time.
Along with alerts before a shutoff, the utility said it would also notify those impacted by the PSPS with an estimated time and date when power would be restored. PG&E said customers would receive an update at least once a day, along with a final notification once electricity service is back on. Customers would receive alerts through automated calls, text or emails.
Earlier this month, the utility shut off power to 155,000 customers in 22 counties, including Lake, Napa and Sonoma counties, over increased fire danger and strong winds that were felt across the region.
“These Diablo winds are strong enough to break tree limbs, blow them into power lines, and cause rapid fire spread,” PG&E said at the time.
Customers are encouraged to update their contact information and indicate their preferred language for PSPS notifications online or by calling 1-800-742-5000.