With dangerous fire-weather forecast over the next several days, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) is coordinating closely with both firefighters and investor owned utilities to ensure the state is prepared to deal with the dual threats of new wildfires and utility-initiated power shutoffs.
While the state has no role in the decision by the utilities to shut off power to Californians, Cal OES is actively engaging with investor owned utilities Pacific Gas & Electric (PGE), Pacific Power and others to ensure orderly and proper use of public safety power shut offs (PSPS), while also actively working to mitigate any secondary dangers these power shutoffs may pose to the public.
As of August 17, 2021 at 10 a.m., PG&E notified Cal OES they will initiate power shutoffs from Tuesday, August 17 to Wednesday, August 18 for nearly 50,000 customers (an estimated 150,00 people) in Alameda, Butte, Colusa, Contra Costa, Glenn, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Napa, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Solano, Sonoma, Tehama, Trinity, Yolo, and Yuba Counties.
Pacific Power will initiate power shutoffs to more than 2,000 customers (about 6,000 people) in Siskiyou County starting on Tuesday as well.
For more information on PG&E’s utility-initiated power shutoff, visit: PG&E Outage Update
PG&E also is opening daytime Community Resource Centers in areas affected by a shutoff. Each center offers an ADA-accessible restroom and hand-washing station, medical equipment charging, device charging, Wi-Fi, bottled water and snacks. Indoor centers also offer air-conditioning or heating, seating and ice. To find a Community Resource Center near you, visit: Find a CRC.
Publicly available PSPS proposed outage maps can be found here.
SERVICES FOR VULNERABLE COMMUNITIES
Residential customers can learn about resources that can help their families in unique situations below:
SUPPORTING COMMUNITIES IMPACTED BY POWER SHUTOFFS
Governor Gavin Newsom announced the distribution of more than $120 million in Community Power Resiliency grants to maintain the continuity of critical services that can be impacted by power outages, including schools, county election offices, and food storage reserves. Through Cal OES, this funding was distributed to counties, incorporated cities, federally recognized Tribal Governments and special districts.
There are steps you can take to prepare ahead of and during a PSPS and reduce the stress caused by power outages.
BEFORE A PUBLIC SAFETY POWER SHUTOFF:
- Have a personal safety plan in place for every member of your household (including pets).
- Plan for any medical needs like medications that need to be refrigerated or devices that require power.
- Build or restock your emergency supply kit, including food, water, flashlights, a radio, fresh batteries, first aid supplies and cash.
- Identify backup charging methods for phones.
- Learn how to manually open your garage door.
- If you own a backup generator, ensure it is ready to safely operate.
- To learn more ways to prepare, download the Prepare for Power Down fact sheet.
- Prepareforpowerdown.com – Prepare for Power Down informational website
- chhs.ca.gov –California Health and Human Services Public Safety Power Shutoff Resource Guide
- ready.gov – Disaster preparedness information from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
- readyforwildfire.org – CAL FIRE’s wildfire preparedness website
- cpuc.ca.gov/wildfiresinfo – Information on the CPUC’s wildfire safety efforts
- cafiresafecouncil.org – California Fire Safe Council website
- noaa.gov – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website