As part of its ongoing efforts to keep customers and communities safe, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has added numerous resources to further support customers and communities before, during and after Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS). During severe weather, PG&E may need to turn off power for public safety as high winds can cause tree branches or debris to contact energized electric lines, which could damage electrical equipment and cause a major wildfire.
“We understand that being without power is a hardship on our customers,” said Marlene Santos, EVP of Customer Care and Chief Customer Officer. “That is why we are continuing to listen to our customers and respond to their feedback by providing the information and tools they need to help lessen the impact of PSPS events.”
More PSPS Resources for 2021
To continue to support customers before, during and after PSPS events, PG&E is:
Refining customer notifications to provide better information in 16 languages about when power will be turned off and back on.
Providing Address Alerts, which allow customers and non-account holders to receive notifications about PSPS events for any address they care about.
Continuing to expand the network of event-ready, ADA-accessible indoor Community Resource Center sites, which include basic medical equipment charging, device charging, Wi-Fi and other amenities.
Expanding meal replacement resources from local food banks to cover every county likely to be impacted by a PSPS event. A combination of perishable and nonperishable food will be available up until three days after restoration from a PSPS event.
Providing customers who depend on well water pumps and live in high fire-threat areas with rebates for purchasing a qualified portable power generator through the Generator Rebate Program.
Helping communities plan and implement their own electric microgrid through the Community Microgrid Enablement Program.
Additional Support for Customers with Medical and Independent Living Needs
To further support customers in the access and functional needs (AFN) population, PG&E is providing additional resources including:
Growing PG&E’s network of community-based organization partnerships focused on serving customers in the AFN community with accessible transportation resources, hotel accommodations and food stipends, emergency preparedness outreach and education and Medical Baseline Program enrollment.
Providing a total of 11,500 portable batteries to customers with medical or independent living needs through both the portable battery program and community-based organization partnerships, cumulative over two years (9,000 portable batteries to low-income Medical Baseline customers in high fire-threat areas impacted by two or more PSPS events and an additional 2,500 portable batteries to customers with medical or independent living needs).
Expanding notifications for those with medical needs by allowing customers to self-certify as being medically vulnerable.
Providing additional meals to seniors impacted by a PSPS event through a Meals on Wheels partnership.
Continuing to Build a Safer System
PG&E continues to make their system safer and more resilient to reduce PSPS events for its customers and communities. There is no single solution to wildfire safety, which is why they are continuing to evolve and improve all wildfire safety programs including:
Meeting and exceeding state vegetation standards across 1,800 miles to manage trees and other vegetation located near power lines that could cause a wildfire or power outage.
Continuing to upgrade the electric grid by hardening at least 180 miles of power lines to reduce wildfire risks.
Installing 250 sectionalizing devices to narrow the scope of PSPS events so fewer customers are without power.
Piloting new technologies that detect threats to the electric grid and rapidly reduce or shut off power thus reducing the need for larger PSPS events.
Employing new risk models to better pinpoint its wildfire safety prevention efforts.