State regulators have approved PG&E’s plan to shut off power during extreme weather to reduce wildfire risk. On Monday, June 17 at 10am at the Community Center, find out how to prepare yourself for the shutoffs.
Regulators have signed off on one of Pacific Gas and Electric’s state-mandated plans to dramatically increase the use of one of its major wildfire prevention plans during the upcoming fire season: so-called Public Safety Power Shutoffs, when the utility giant will turn off power lines during weather deemed dangerously dry and windy in order to reduce the risk of wildfire, specifically in neighborhoods identified as at risk.
PG&E says its goal is to provide customers with 48-hour notice of a planned shutoff and follow up that notice with updates. But its strategy will require significant planning by local business owners, says Mill Valley Fire Department Chief Tom Welch.
“Bad weather could be a 12 to 24-hour window, and it would take us 3-5 days to get the power back on in many cases,” Welch says. “This workshop will focus on what that means to you and your business and do you have a good continuity of operations plan. We want to make sure that everyone understand what this means to you and your business.”
“We want you to think about what no power for seven days means for your business and, most importantly, what can you do now to mitigate those issues you anticipate happening,” Welch adds.
PG&E has posted tips for residents here, offering suggestions to plan for emergencies such as the need to keep medications cold, knowing how to manually open your electric garage door or having flashlights or lanterns and fresh batteries readily available.
PG&E’s plan to make its infrastructure more resilient also includes strengthening its tree-trimming efforts. But the biggest impact on day-to-day operations for local businesses will likely come from its strategy to turn off high-voltage transmission lines during extremely dry and windy weather, meaning that even PG&E customers far from areas of high fire danger could lose power.
The power shutoff standards approved by the California Public Utilities Commission require PG&E and other utilities to use the strategy only as a “measure of last resort,” develop notification protocols to reach all customers and integrate their warning systems with agencies in the state responsible for warning the public about emergencies, among other requirements.
The 411: Fire officials host a workshop for local businesses on PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutoffs, when the utility giant will turn off power lines during weather deemed dangerously dry and windy in order to reduce the risk of wildfire, specifically in neighborhoods identified as at risk.