Utilities News

PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoff

PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoff

Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) has given the “all clear” for its current power shutoff in Santa Clara County over the weekend but there is still no estimated time when power will be fully restored.

In the meantime, the National Weather Service reports the next Red Flag Warning period with critical fire conditions will begin Tuesday morning, October 29 lasting through the early afternoon on Wednesday, October 30. PG&E could enact another power shutoff in Santa Clara County during this time and will notify affected households via phone, text, and email just prior to shutting off power. Residents could be without power for up to seven days, or power could come back on much sooner, depending on conditions.

PG&E customers in Palo Alto are not expected to be impacted however this is subject to change as assessments continue. To check your address on the PG&E potential PSPS address-lookup map go to: bit.ly/PGEaddress-lookup

As current fires continue to actively burn in the Bay Area, there is the possibility of poor air quality drifting to the Palo Alto region. You can view current air quality conditions from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District here.

Update as of 10/26/19

Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) has announced a Public Safety Power Shutoff is expected to impact more than 27,000 customers in Santa Clara County, starting Saturday, October 26 at approximately 8 p.m. PG&E customers in the Palo Alto Foothills could be affected too. 

PG&E will notify affected households via phone, text, and email just prior to shutting off power. Residents could be without power for up to seven days, or power could come back on much sooner, depending on conditions. 

The National Weather Service (NWS) Red Flag Warning that went into effect for parts of the Bay Area in the afternoon of Saturday, Oct. 26  is forecasted to last through the morning of Monday, Oct. 28. 

The Palo Alto Fire Department will staff and monitor the Palo Alto Foothills over the weekend and Palo Alto Park Rangers will also perform more frequent patrols. Please remember that charcoal barbeques and wood fires in the campground areas are prohibited during Red Flag Warning conditions.

The City of Palo Alto Utilities (CPAU) owns and operates the local electric distribution system in Palo Alto. However, the City intakes electricity from PG&E’s transmission system, so if there is a major event that impacts the electric grid in the Bay Area, Palo Alto could be impacted by a power outage. If PG&E makes a decision to shut off power lines west of Highway 280 outside of CPAU’s service territory, we may need to shut off power locally to customers in the Foothills. CPAU will coordinate to make local operational decisions based on the safety and best interests of our community members and our utility’s infrastructure. 

Palo Alto will continue to monitor this situation for any changes and inform you here.

You can also follow us on social media through NextdoorFacebookTwitter, and more for updates as we know more. 

You may need to take several of the following steps to be prepared:

  • Utilize an emergency supply kit with enough water, food, medicine, batteries and flashlights to last several days 
  • Have a backup generator for medical and other needs
  •  Put a plan in place for an extended outage
  • Have your vehicle gas tank filled and cash on hand (as electronic transaction devices and ATM machines will be without power)

Read a recent blog post for ways to be prepared and stay informed as this issue develops further.  

Palo Alto uses AlertSCC to communicate during unforeseen events or emergencies such as natural disasters, crime bulletins, power outages, and more. You can sign up to receive the Alert SCC notifications here and follow our Emergency Preparedness page here.  

Read about PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shut-off program at pge.com/psps 

In the event of an actual emergency, dial 9-1-1. For non-emergency public safety issues, call (650) 329-2413.


Last Updated: October 23, 2019