What is a PSPS?


Now is a good time to take steps to prepare and keep safe this wildfire season to protect your home and your family. This fire season also brings with it a new challenge, Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS). We all recall the devastating fires in Sonoma County and the City of Paradise. These fires cost many lives and destroyed properties and infrastructure. Because of those fires and in an effort to prevent similar events in the future, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) has established the PSPS policy.

PG&E has communicated with municipalities that in the event of “Extreme fire danger,” the PSPS will be implemented, and power shut off. Decisions on the extent and  duration of the shutoff will be made by PG&E staff. According to the policy, “A Public Safety Power Shutoff will only be done as a last resort during the most extreme fire danger conditions.”

They will consider the following criteria when deciding to shut off power:

  • “Extreme” fire danger threat level
  • A “Red Flag Warning” is declared
  • Low humidity levels
  • Sustained winds
  • Site-specific conditions
  • Critically dry vegetation
  • On the ground, real time observations from PG&E crews

PG&E has indicated they will NOT turn power back on until the lines that were shut down are physically inspected by their crews. In their presentation of the PSPS program they state, “We would make every effort to restore power within 24 hours. However, depending on conditions or if any repairs are needed, outages (weather plus restoration time) could last between 2 to 5 days.”

What does this mean for you? A loss of power affects many things, refrigeration, air conditioning, and medical devices in your home. Local businesses could be impacted, affecting commerce in town.. Town of Danville Emergency Management staff recommend residents prepare for the possibility of a power shutoff. A letter was sent by PG&E to customers: Take Action Today to Prepare for Public Safety Power Outages


Weather Awareness

PG&E maintains a Weather Map that provides a 7-day forecast for potential Public Safety Power Shutoff incidents based on weather conditions. Users can find their zone and determine whether PSPS are forecast for their area.

The forecast encompasses nine geographic regions of PG&E’s service area and four levels of PSPS potential: 

Not Expected – Conditions that generally warrant a PSPS event are not expected at this time.

Elevated – An upcoming event (a period of gusty winds, dry conditions, heightened risk) is being monitored for an increased potential of a PSPS event.

PSPS Watch – The company Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is activated for a reasonable chance of executing PSPS for public safety in a given geographic zone due to a combination of adverse weather and dry fuel conditions. A PSPS watch is typically only issued within 72 hours before the anticipated start of an event.

PSPS Warning – The company Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is activated and customers in areas being considered for PSPS have been or are being notified. This level indicates execution of PSPS is probable given the latest forecast of weather and fuels and/or observed conditions. PSPS is typically executed in smaller and more targeted areas than the PG&E Geographic Zones. This level does not guarantee a PSPS execution as conditions and forecasts may change.