10/14/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/14/2020 18:15
Release Date: October 14, 2020
Contact: PG&E External Communications (415) 973-5930
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will de-energize certain electrical lines for safety over the course of this evening (Wednesday, Oct. 14) as part of a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS). PG&E is calling a PSPS due to a high-wind event combined with low humidity and severely dry vegetation, that together create high risk of catastrophic wildfires. The PSPS event will affect approximately 53,000 customers in targeted portions of 24 counties.
Customer notifications indicating that the PSPS event would happen began this afternoon and will continue through early evening. Lines will be de-energized starting at approximately 6 p.m. tonight and the de-energization process will continue throughout the evening depending upon location. (A small number of customers will not lose power until Thursday afternoon.)
This PSPS will affect customers in targeted portions of 24 counties in the Northern Sierra Nevada foothills; the mid and higher elevations in the Sierra generally north of Yosemite; the North Bay mountains near Mt. St. Helena; small pockets in the East Bay near Mt. Diablo; a pocket of the Oakland Hills east of Piedmont (generally between Highway 24 and Upper San Leandro Reservoir); the elevated terrain east of Milpitas around the Calaveras Reservoir; and portions of the Santa Cruz and Big Sur mountains. All of these areas are covered by National Weather Service Red Flag Warnings, indicating critical fire weather conditions.
To support our customers during this PSPS event, PG&E will open 40 Community Resource Centers (CRCs) at 5 p.m. today (Wednesday, Oct. 14). The CRCs will stay open until 10 p.m. and then operate from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. through the event. These temporary CRCs will be open to customers when power is out at their homes and will provide ADA-accessible restrooms, hand-washing stations, medical-equipment charging, WiFi; bottled water, grab-and-go bags and non-perishable snacks.
Timeline for safety shutoffs
The first de-energization phase will begin around 6 p.m. this evening and affect approximately 33,000 customers in portions of the following counties in the Northern Sierra Foothills and North Bay Mountains: Butte, Lake, Napa, Nevada, Plumas, Shasta, Solano, Sonoma, Tehama, Yolo and Yuba.
The second phase will begin around 8 p.m. this evening and affect approximately 19,000 customers in portions of the following counties in the Sierra Foothills, Bay Area and Santa Cruz
Mountains: Alameda, Amador, Calaveras, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Monterey, Nevada, Placer, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Sierra.
A third phase is expected to begin around 4 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 15) and affect approximately 700 customers in portions of Amador, Calaveras, Humboldt and Trinity counties.
Once the weather subsides on Friday morning, PG&E will patrol and inspect the de-energized lines to ensure they were not damaged during the wind event and repair any damage found. PG&E will then safely restore power in stages and as quickly as possible, with the goal of restoring power to nearly all customers within 12 daylight hours after severe weather has passed.
PG&E anticipates power will be restored to essentially all customers affected by the PSPS event who can receive service by 10 p.m. on Friday (Oct. 16), weather and safety permitting.
Customer notifications-via text, email and automated phone call-began late Monday afternoon, approximately two days prior to the potential shutoff. An additional notification, one day prior to the event, took place Tuesday. Customers enrolled in the company's Medical Baseline program who do not verify that they have received these important safety communications will be individually visited by a PG&E employee with a knock on their door when possible. A primary focus will be given to customers who rely on electricity for critical life- sustaining equipment.
Affected Counties and Customers
The power shutoff is currently expected to affect approximately 53,000 customers in the following 24 counties, including:
Total: 52,791 customers, including 3,062 Medical Baseline customers
Customers can use an address lookup tool to find out if their location is included in this safety shutoff at www.pge.com/pspsupdates.
The power shutoff will affect less than 1 percent of the 5.4 million customers within PG&E's service area. Due to improvements to the PSPS program and infrastructure over the course of 2020 - such as improved meteorology forecasting and guidance tools, sectionalizing and temporary generation to energize microgrids, substations and critical facilities and enabling local generation facilities to serve local customers - we are able make this upcoming PSPS event smaller in size compared to a similar 2019 PSPS event. Combined, these efforts will keep the power on for approximately 12,750 safe-to energize customers who would have otherwise lost power due to transmission-level outages during this PSPS event.
Community Resource Centers Reflect COVID-Safety Protocols
While a PSPS is an important safety tool to reduce the risk of major wildfires during severe fire risk weather, PG&E understands that losing power disrupts lives.
PG&E's temporary Community Resource Centers (CRCs) will open today from 5 to 10 p.m. (standard hours from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.) to support our customers affected by the PSPS. The CRCs will provide ADA-accessible restrooms, hand-washing stations; medical-equipment charging; WiFi; bottled water; grab-and-go bags and non-perishable snacks. The 40 CRCs, located throughout PG&E's service area in locations affected by the PSPS, will remain open throughout the event.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, all CRCs will follow important health and safety protocols including:
Besides these health protocols, customers visiting a CRC in 2020 will experience further changes, including a different look and feel. In addition to using existing indoor facilities, PG&E will open CRCs at outdoor, open-air sites in some locations and use large commercial vans as CRCs in other locations. CRC format will depend on a number of factors, including input from local and tribal leaders. Supplies also will be handed out in grab-and-go bags at all CRCs so most customers can be on their way quickly.
PG&E updates its CRC locations regularly. Click here for updates.
Here's Where to Go to Learn More
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.