Extended power outages may impact the whole community and the economy. A power outage is when the electrical power goes out.

Power outages may:

  • Disrupt communications, water, and transportation
  • Close retail businesses, grocery stores, gas stations, ATMs, banks, and other services
  • Cause food spoilage and water contamination
  • Prevent use of medical devices

Prepare for a power outage before it happens:

 
  • Take an inventory of the items you need that rely on electricity.
  • Talk to your medical provider about a power outage plan for medical devices powered by electricity and refrigerated medicines. Find out how long medication can be stored at higher temperatures and get specific guidance for any medications that are critical for life.
  • Plan for batteries and other alternatives to meet your needs when the power goes out.
  • Sign up for local alerts and warning systems. Monitor weather reports.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors with battery backup in central locations on every level of your home.
  • Determine whether your home phone will work in a power outage and how long battery backup will last.
  • Review the supplies that are available in case of a power outage. Have flashlights with extra batteries for every household member. Have enough nonperishable food and water.
  • Use a thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer so that you can know the temperature when the power is restored. Throw out food if the temperature is 40 degrees or higher.
  • Keep mobile phones and other electric equipment charged and gas tanks full.

During a power outage:

 
  • Keep freezers and refrigerators closed. The refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours. Use coolers with ice if necessary. Monitor temperatures with a thermometer.
  • Maintain food supplies that do not require refrigeration.
  • Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Generators, camp stoves, or charcoal grills should always be used outdoors and at least 20 feet away from windows. Never use a gas stovetop or oven to heat your home.
  • Check on your neighbors. Older adults and young children are especially vulnerable to extreme temperatures.
  • Go to a community location with power if heat or cold is extreme.
  • Turn off or disconnect appliances, equipment, or electronics. Power may return with momentary “surges” or “spikes” that can cause damage.

Stay safe after a power outage:

 
  • Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40 degrees or higher for two hours or more, or that has an unusual odor, color, or texture.
  • If the power is out for more than a day, discard any medication that should be refrigerated, unless the drug’s label says otherwise. If a life depends on the refrigerated drugs, consult a doctor or pharmacist and use medicine only until a new supply is available.

Power Outage Preparedness Fact Sheets: 

Emergency Supply Kit

Before a potential power outage, make a supply kit with non-perishable food, water, first aid supplies and tools.  Use this fact sheet to learn more. 

Emergency Supply Kit Fact Sheet in English

Emergency Supply Kit Fact Sheet in Espanol

Food Safety

Without power, food safety is an important issue to be aware of.  Use this fact sheet to learn more.  

Food Safety Fact Sheet in English

Food Safety Fact Sheet in Espanol

Generator Safety

Safety is important if using a generator during an outage.  Use this fact sheet to learn more.

Generator Safety Fact Sheet in English

Generator Safety Fact Sheet in Espanol

Communications

Be prepared for communication systems to fail during a power outage.  Use this fact sheet to learn more.

Communications Preparedness Fact Sheet in English

Communications Preparedness Fact Sheet in Espanol

Car Safety

Extra caution is required with cars and roads during an outage.  Use this fact sheet to learn more.  

Car Safety Fact Sheet in English

Car Safety Fact Sheet in Espanol

Medical Devices

Be prepared with back up power options if you have medical devices requiring power.  Use this fact sheet to learn more. 

Medical Device Preparedness Fact Sheet in English

Medical Device Preparedness Fact Sheet in Espanol

Public Safety Power Shutoff

A Public Safety Power Shutoff involves turning power off to electrical systems during extreme fire conditions.  The risk of wildfires increases with high temperatures, high sustained and peak winds and low humidity.  During these conditions, wind and trees can down electrical transmission and distribution lines, which can ignite fires. 

PG&E has stated that in an attempt to reduce the chance of fire ignition in certain areas, they may de-energize electrical grids in advance of or during heightened risk conditions.   

A CPUC Fire Threat Map was adopted by the California Public Utilities Commission.  The map outlines fire threat areas within California.  Tier 2 areas have been designated by the CPUC as at an elevated risk for wildfire.  Tier 3 areas have been designated as at an extreme risk for wildfire.  The most likely electric lines to be considered for de-energization for safety are those passing through Tier 2 or Tier 3 areas. 

Beginning with the 2019 wildfire season, PG&E has announced that as an additional precautionary measure to further reduce wildfire risks, they are expanding their Public Safety Power Shutoff program beyond Tier 2 and Tier 3 areas. In 2019, lines considered for potential PSPS events will include all distribution and transmission lines at all voltages (500 kV and below) that traverse Tier 2 or Tier 3 areas. This means that while customers in high fire-threat areas are more likely to be affected, a Public Safety Power Shutoff could impact any customers who receive power from PG&E.

PG&E will attempt to notify customers of a PSPS event 48 hours in advance of power being turned off, 24 hours in advance and just before power is turned off.  Notifications may also be made during the outage.  Attempts to reach customers will be done by calls, texts or emails.  Depending on conditions, these outages could last from several hours to multiple days. 

Please visit the following sites for more information on the Public Safety Power Shutoff Program: