As part of its commitment to keep customers and communities, as well as others in its service area safe, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has developed a new tool to allow anyone to receive notifications about Public Safety Power Shutoff events, even if they are not PG&E customers or account holders.
Although PG&E customers already will receive alerts specific to their address, this new tool is also especially useful for tenants, caretakers, travelers and parents of school-age children.
If gusty winds and dry conditions, combined with a heightened fire risk, threaten a portion of the electric system serving a community, it may be necessary for PG&E to turn off electricity in the interest of public safety.
In response to the rapidly changing environmental conditions in California, beginning with the 2019 wildfire season, PG&E has expanded its Public Safety Power Shutoff program to include all electric lines that pass through high fire-threat areas — both distribution and transmission.
Because the energy system relies on power lines working together to provide electricity across cities, counties and regions, any one of PG&E’s more than 5 million electric customers could experience a PSPS event.
“We recognize how important it is that everyone who could be impacted by a Public Safety Power Shutoff is aware and prepared,” said Aaron Johnson, PG&E vice president in Electric Operations. “We are pleased to launch this capability that gives everyone, not just customers, the option to take action and stay safe when we turn off power for safety.”
Parties interested in receiving PSPS alerts for an address where they don’t receive a bill can select one or more zip codes that they want to receive PSPS alerts about, or select all zip codes in PG&E’s service territory.
When a PSPS event is planned for a selected zip code, an alert will be sent to the user telling them how to determine if a specific address in that zip code could be impacted. PG&E account holders don’t need to take any action if they are only concerned about addresses where they receive a bill.
Customer information already on file will be used to send alerts to those Customers. Customers are encouraged to keep their contact information up to date with PG&E so they can be notified if their specific location will be impacted.
“When a Public Safety Power Shutoff is planned, we want to spread the word as quickly and as effectively as possible,” said PG&E Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer Laurie Giammona. “Zip code notifications give us another communication option so everyone can be ready.”
PG&E spokesman Paul Moreno said, “We strive to provide 48-hours notice when possible, with an update at 24 hours and again right before power is shut off, then provide updates about the weather event causing the Public Safety Power Shutoff, and when its over and then the restoration time frame.
“Of course, as these events are weather driven, forecasted conditions can change, and the timing with it. We want to keep our communities safe and at the same time we understand that power outages are inconvenient.
More information about PSPS Zip Code Alerts is available at www.pge.com/pspszipcodealerts .
To sign up for PSPS Zip Code Alerts, call 877-9000-PGE. Alerts will be delivered via automated call. Text and email alerts will be available in the near future.