What You Need To Know About The California Public Safety Power Shutoff

What You Need to Know First

  • In an emergency, use the main power switch on the main electrical panel to turn off the electric supply to your residence, see below.
  • If your power goes out, check your circuit breakers and fuse boxes and see if your neighbors are affected before calling PG&E at 1-800-743-5002 to report the outage. You can also report the outage online.
  • If you see a downed power line, assume it is energized and stay away. Call 911 immediately to report its location, and then call PG&E.
  • Use the active power outage map to find what areas are being affected.

Power Outage Safety Tips

  • Use a cell phone or hard-wired phone. Cordless phones do not work without electricity.
  • Use battery-operated flashlights, not candles, which pose a fire hazard.  Plan ahead by making sure you have batteries and they are charged
  • Unplug or turn off all electric and heat-producing appliances (e.g. air conditioners, washers and dryers, ovens, stoves, irons) to avoid overloading circuits. Overloaded circuits can be a fire hazard once power is restored.
  • Unplug televisions and computers that were in use when the power went out (at the bare minimum turn off the surge protector).
  • Leave a single lamp on to alert you when power returns.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed, and place extra containers of ice inside to preserve food. A full freezer will remain colder longer.
  • Notify your alarm company if you have an alarm system (if the system is monitored they should already know). Equipment can be affected by outages especially batteries.
  • Turn your appliances back on one at a time when conditions return to normal.
  • Reset clocks, thermostats and other programmed equipment after power is restored.

Preparing for a Power Outage (Beforehand)

  • Keep important numbers (e.g. hospital, fire department, police, friends, relatives and medical providers) near the phone.
  • Keep battery-operated flashlights, radios and extra batteries on hand.
  • Gather non-perishable food that doesn’t require cooking, as well as a manual can opener.
  • Freeze water-filled plastic jugs to make blocks of ice. Place them in the fridge and freezer to help prevent food from spoiling.
  • If you have a generator, make sure a licensed electrician properly installs it. Improperly installed generators pose a significant danger to our crews.
  • Register for PG&E Alerts,  pge.com/pspszipcodealerts
  • Solar Panel won’t work unless you have batteries connected to store the power (it is a safety feature)
  • Plan for and stock up for Seven Days without power
  • Get familiar with how your Garage door works, without power you may not be able to open it
  • Keep generators outside, with good ventilation, on flat ground and away from anything combustible

General Emergency Preparedness Tips

  • Learn your community’s emergency evacuation route and the where the evacuation centers will be.
  • Learn how to shut off your gas, electricity and water.
  • Put together an emergency preparedness kit so you and the other members of your household can go without electricity and running water for three days.
  • Store emergency supplies in sealed containers like plastic tubs that have been taped shut.
  • Learn CPR and first aid to help with medical emergencies.
  • Learn the restoration plans for your children’s schools or daycare centers.

Reporting a Power Outage (this is not needed during Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) outage, they know about it already)

  • Before calling PG&E about a power outage, determine if it is affecting your residence or the neighborhood by checking to see if neighbors are affected.
  • If only your residence is without power, check circuit breakers and fuse boxes to see if the problem is limited to the home electric system.
  • First perform the steps, above, and then report the outage. Report the outage online and subscribe to updates or call 1-800-743-5002.
  • Once your outage has been reported, you can call PG&E to get a status report and an anticipated time your power will be turned back on.
  • If you lose power overnight, you can call PG&E to request a wake-up call, as well as up-to-date information on your outage and time of restoration.

NOTE: Our phone lines may become very busy during major storms, so we ask for your patience if you are trying to reach us.

General Power/Safety Information:

Main Electrical Panel/Switch

  • In an emergency, use the main power switch on the main electrical panel to turn off the electric supply to your entire business/residence.  Before doing this please check and verify this is appropriate, in most cases it is not necessary and will delay your power recovery.

Blown Fuses (in most cases you will not run into this, but older buildings may still have these)

  • If a fuse blows, disconnect or turn off the equipment that may have caused the problem.
  • Always shut off the main electric switch before replacing a fuse.
  • Locate the fuse box or circuit breaker for your business/residence.
  • Blown fuses must be replaced, not repaired. If you do not have the correct size on hand, do not replace a blown fuse with one of higher amperage.  This is a huge safety issue.

CAUTION:  Be aware if an alternate power source is attached before doing any repair work and take the appropriate safety measures.

Resetting Circuit Breakers

  • After turning off or unplugging equipment on the circuit, push the switch firmly to the off position, then back on. If the overload is cleared, the electricity will come back on.
  • If your circuit breakers trip off repeatedly, there could be a problem with the equipment on that circuit. If the equipment is unplugged but the circuit breaker trips off again, call an electrician (be aware if an alternate power source is attached).

CAUTION:  Be aware if an alternate power source is attached before doing any repair work and take the appropriate safety measures.

Power Line Safety Tips

  • If you see a downed power line, assume it is energized and stay away. Call 911 immediately to report its location, and then call PG&E at 1-800-743-5002.
  • Do not touch anyone or anything in contact with a downed power line.
  • Keep children and pets away from fallen electric wires.
  • Do not drive over a fallen power line.
  • Stay away from flooded areas and downed trees during and after a storm. These areas could be hiding an energized power line.

If a Power Line Touches Your Car

  • If you are in a car when a power line falls on it, STAY INSIDE. The safest place is in your car. The ground around your car may be energized.
  • Honk the horn, roll down your window and yell for help.
  • Warn others to stay away. Anyone who touches the equipment or ground around the vehicle may be injured.
  • Use your cell phone to call 911.
  • Fire department, police and PG&E workers will tell you when it is safe to get out of the vehicle.
  • If there is a fire and you have to exit a vehicle that has contacted power lines:
    • Remove loose items of clothing.
    • Keep your hands at your sides and jump clear of the vehicle, so you are not touching the car when your feet hit the ground.
    • Keep both feet close together and shuffle away from the vehicle without picking up your feet.

General Generator Safety Tips

  • Before starting your generator, carefully read and follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid serious harm to yourself and others.
  • Make sure the total electric load on your generator will not exceed the manufacturer’s rating.
  • Make sure your generator’s exhaust will vent safely.
  • Use the lowest wattage light bulbs that provide a safe level of light. The greater the load on your generator, the more fuel it will use.
  • Keep cords away so they don’t present a tripping hazard, especially in dimly lit doorways or halls. Never run cords under rugs or carpets where heat might build up or damaged cords may go unnoticed.
  • Extension cords must be properly sized to carry the electric load. Overloaded cords can overheat and cause fires or damage to equipment.

NOTE: You are responsible for any injuries and/or property damage from an improperly installed or operated generator.

Permanent Standby Generators

  • When a generator is permanently connected to a customer’s electric system, it energizes the building’s wiring. This type of installation requires a device that prevents the generator from being connected to PG&E’s power lines.
  • Any generator must be sized appropriately for the load it is going to service and can be easily overloaded

NOTE: Only a qualified professional, such as a licensed electric contractor, should install a permanent standby generator.

Portable Generators

  • Portable generators are designed to connect only to select appliances or lamps. Portable generators should never be connected directly to a building’s wiring system, only to the device you are powering
  • Any generator must be sized appropriately for the load it is going to service and can be easily overloaded

NOTE: The law prohibits customers with a permanent or portable generator from connecting it to another power source, such as PG&E’s power lines. If you own and operate a generator, you are responsible for making sure that electricity from your unit cannot “back feed” or flow into PG&E’s power lines. If you do not use your generator correctly, you risk damaging your property and endangering your life and the lives of PG&E line workers who may be working on power lines in your area.

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