PG&E Helping Customers Prepare in Advance of Public Safety Power Shutoff Events with New Watch and Warning Notifications
As Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) continues to improve vital safety communications for customers that will be used before turning off power to prevent wildfires during severe weather, the company has enhanced its notifications to provide more detail about when power is expected to go out, when it may be restored and where customers can go to find additional information.
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Watch Notification Example (Graphic: Business Wire)
New Watch and Warning Designations Add Important Details
In response to direct customer feedback requesting more information as soon as possible to ensure they have time to prepare and plan in advance of a potential Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) event, PG&E will provide Watch and Warning notifications this year.
Whenever possible, an initial Watch notification will be sent two days in advance of a potential PSPS event, followed by an additional Watch notification one day before the potential PSPS event, notifying customers of the possibility of a PSPS event in their area based on forecasted conditions.
A PSPS Watch will be upgraded to a Warning when forecasted conditions show that a safety shutoff will be needed, and that it is going to happen soon. Whenever possible, Warning notifications will be sent approximately four to 12 hours in advance of the power being shutoff.
Both Watch and Warning notifications are directly tied to weather forecasts, which can change rapidly. For example, predicting the time and area of landfall for tropical storms and hurricanes in the southeast United States.
As an example of how notifications have been improved for 2020, customers will see an estimated time when their power will be restored two days before it goes out. Last year, that estimated time of restoration wasn’t provided until the power had been turned off.
Watch and Warning alerts will be issued via automated calls, texts and emails. Both Watch and Warning alerts have been enhanced since 2019, tested with customers, adjusted based on their feedback, and will now provide new essential information, including:
- Your address so you know you’re getting the accurate information for your home.
- The date and time when power is estimated to be shut off. (For example, between 6 and 10 p.m. on Oct. 7.)
- The estimated date and time when we expect power will be restored. (For example, by 4 p.m. on Oct. 9.)
When power is turned off, PG&E will provide updates to customers at least once a day until power is restored. Power will remain off until the weather has passed, and equipment has been inspected. PG&E is seeking to cut restoration times in half compared to 2019 so that power is restored to the majority of customers within 12 daylight hours after severe weather has passed. PG&E will send a final notification once power has been restored.