SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – The Santa Rosa Fire Department on Friday tweeted to the community reminding them of “tools and resources available to monitor and prepare for potential outages.”
But this led to some confusion once the department mentioned an “elevated risk of PSPS” for parts of the North Bay on Monday and Tuesday.
“An ‘elevated’ risk status is PG&E’s lowest threshold level for potential power outages,” the fire department added in the tweet.
But this got some people wondering – what exactly is PSPS and why should the public be concerned? What are the signs to look out for?
Here are some of the answers to those questions and more on what you need to know about PSPS:
What is PSPS?
PSPS stands for Public Safety Power Shutoff.
PSPS may be brought on for public safety when it may be necessary to turn off electricity during very dry and windy conditions, combined with a heightened fire risk.
PG&E says while customers in high-fire threat areas are more likely to be affected, any of PG&E’s customers could have their power shut off because the energy system relies on power lines working together to provide electricity across cities, counties, and regions.
During this time, outages could last several days, according to officials.
How will PG&E determine the need for PSPS?
There are several factors PG&E reviews when determining if a PSPS is needed, including:
- Red Flag Warning
- Low humidity levels, generally 20% and below
- Forecasted sustained winds generally above 25 mph and wind gusts exceeding 45 mph
- Condition of dry fuel on the ground and live vegetation (moisture content)
- On-the-ground, real-time observations from PG&E crews
How often will these PSPS’s happen?
PG&E says this could happen several times a year depending on weather conditions.
Officials said while customers in high-fire threat areas are more likely to be affected, any customer could have their power shut off if their community relies upon a line that passes through a high-fire threat area.