UPDATE for 2019: PG&E announced more expansive fire risk measures in February 2019. For details about that announcement, visit the PG&E 2019 wildfire safety plan press release.
A few of our customers have asked about recent PG&E announcements and how to best be prepared. Here is what we know and recommend:
1) PG&E announced its plan to proactively manage wildfire risks. Some key things to note: they will be more aggressive in managing vegetation around power lines and are warning customers now that they will conduct “Public Safety Power Shutoff[s]” when concern about wildfires is high.
2) In order to receive advance warning about potential shutoff, customers are reminded to update contact information in your PG&E Account. We encourage you to login to your account and confirm the information is accurate and as complete as possible — we recommend including multiple points of contact. The PG&E site is currently reminding visitors to do this.
3) PG&E has also published a page to help you determine if your power is likely to experience a shutoff during fire season. We encourage you to visit that page now to check. Even if your business is not directly in an area with high risk, the power line that services your facility could run through a high risk area, subjecting you to a possible shutoff. Go check this now.
What You Can Do
Regardless of where you are located, check to make sure your emergency power plan is up to date. While the risk is highest for our customers in areas at risk of wildfires (or serviced by power lines that run through high-risk areas), everyone is at risk of planned or unplanned outages or brownouts. Here is a refresher about how to create a complete emergency power plan. It would also be helpful to review our backup power “lessons learned” post after last year’s wildfires.
If you are concerned about potential shutoffs, determine your emergency power outage needs and whether or not extra power will be needed. Given these announcements, we expect many locations that rent portable generators will soon have no inventory. At the very least, we recommend that you document a thorough plan for renting portable power. Contact us to discuss your situation so we can help you determine everything from power needed to cable lengths so you could be up and running fast.
We should all be glad that PG&E is taking steps to reduce the risk of the electrical grid contributing to or starting a wildfire. We want to help you minimize the impact of outages on your operation. Take the steps above and contact us if you have any questions or concerns.