Power outages can be frustrating and troublesome. If a power outage is just a couple of hours, we don't need to be too concerned about losing perishable foods. But, for prolonged power outages, we should take steps to minimize loss and keep all members of the family as comfortable as possible.
This is the reason PG&E has started with an operational practice called “Public Safety Power Shutoff”. This procedure will be used by PG&E to pre-emptively shut off power in fire risk areas during extreme weather conditions.
All About Public Safety Power Shutoff
To keep people and communities safe, local energy companies may need to turn off the power during extreme weather or wildfire conditions. This is called a Public Safety Power Shutoff. If a Public Safety Power Shutoff is required due to an extreme weather condition, residents can expect:
Early Warning Notification: The energy companies will send customer alerts before shutting off the power.
Ongoing Updates: The companies will provide ongoing updates through local news outlets, social media and their website.
Safety Inspections: After extreme weather has passed, the companies will inspect the lines in affected areas before restoring the power safely.
A power outage can last for multiple days depending on the severity of the weather and other factors. Therefore, it is crucial that you and your family have an emergency preparedness plan in place.
Media Campaign for Public Safety Power Outages
Three utility companies, PG&E, San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison are coordinating a “Power of Being Prepared” media campaign to make people informed about public safety power shutoffs during ‘very high’ or ‘extreme’ fire threats. The companies have undertaken the wildfire safety and awareness campaign at the direction of California Public Utilities Commission. According to these companies, more than 25 million acres of California wildlands are classified under ‘very high’ or ‘extreme’ fire threat. And nearly 25% of the state’s population reside in this high-risk area. The wildfire preparedness campaign will urge people to prepare emergency kits, outline a family plan, download the Red Cross Emergency App and even practice safety drills before wildfires.
Role of Companies in “Power of Being Prepared”
The utility companies will turn off power to areas that are fire-prone during extreme weather conditions, as a safety precaution. People should expect the public safety power shutoff to last for days. Every utility company will turn off power based on high winds, including red flag warnings from the National Weather Service, dry vegetation, low humidity, and conditions on the ground. They will send early-warning notifications by email, phone and text alerts before turning off power. Additionally, the contact information of all the residents will be updated and reached by the companies before, during, and after the public safety power shutoff.
Preparing For the Power Outage
It is crucial to prepare an emergency plan beforehand, in the event your family is affected by a power shutoff. Here are a few safety plans that you can have in place for every member of your family, including your pets. Firstly, plan for any medical needs like medications that need to be refrigerated or devices that require power. Have an emergency supply kit in place, like food, water, flashlights, fresh batteries, first aid kit, radio and some cash. Figure out how to open the garage door manually. Identify backup charging methods for phones.
If you own a backup generator, ensure it is ready to operate safely.
What If You Are dependent on Electricity for a Medical Device?
During a Public Safety Power Shutoff, if there are residents who depend on electricity for a medical device, like electric or battery-dependent medical technologies such as breathing machines, home oxygen or dialysis, a power wheelchair or scooter, it is critical that they have a plan in place for an extended power outage.
This plan should include:
Making sure that the energy company is aware of the medical device.
Keeping emergency phone numbers handy.
A backup location where the patient can go.
A safe backup power source, like a generator or uninterruptible power supply.
Establishing multiple people that can be contacted for help, who are aware of operating the equipment and backup systems.
Purchasing Generators & Batteries to Avoid Power Outages
Severe weather conditions have magnified the need for backup power. And for homeowners who want to provide themselves with “electric insurance,” generators and batteries are a great way to avoid power outages. You can dive into the details of each technology and decide which would be the best for your home. With increased consumer awareness about power outages due to wildfires & extreme weather conditions, we have been receiving more inquiries from customers about home batteries. If you are concerned about the effects these looming power outages may have on you, contact us now for information on how a generator or battery back up system can put your worries to rest. We look forward to working with you!