PG&E Promising "Shorter, Smarter" Power Shutoffs This Season

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 07: A Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) truck sits at the scene of a three-alarm fire that started after a construction crew hit a gas line on February 07, 2019 in San Francisco, California.
Photo credit Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Pacific Gas and Electric is promising smaller, shorter and smarter Public Safety Power Shutoffs for fire season this year.

The utility is also planning to deal with the PSPS events at the same time as implementing social distancing, if necessary.

Many of us may be sheltered-in-place, but PG&E hasn’t stopped working on segmenting the power grid and preparing other factors that the company hopes will make those shutoffs less painful.

"Unfortunately our primary contractor making our weather stations has shut down," PG&E’s Jim Wickham said. "That goal may be extended further into 2022."

Because of the coronavirus, Vanessa Bryan of PG&E said the company has identified community resource sites for people who lose power that can be run using social distancing.

"We will have sprinter vehicles out in communities that will have resources for (residents) there," Bryan said.

Horak said the utility has now put Calistoga and Angwin on their own power grids, for example, and has continued to cut trees back from wires year-round.

PG&E has several webinars planned for communities around the state through early August.