New Policy Permits Public Safety Shut Downs Of Power During Extreme Fire Conditions
Pacific Power issues the following statement from Scott Bolton, Senior Vice President, External Affairs and Customer Solutions:
As wildfires become more frequent and intense throughout the West, protecting the communities we serve from this increasing threat, while providing safe, reliable power, is our highest priority. We are building on our work over past years to strengthen our system and implement additional safety measures to reduce wildfire risks.
As part of this effort, we are working with area emergency services agencies, the Oregon Department of Forestry, and community leaders across Oregon to expand and enhance existing emergency response plans and work in coordination with our communities. This includes some new actions we’re planning for this fire season.
- We are enhancing vegetation inspections and vegetation clearance around our power lines or poles, increasing facilities inspections, making investments to improve equipment resiliency and fire-proofing, installing local weather stations, and training and equipping our field crews for wildfire suppression.
- For areas at a higher risk of fast-spreading wildfires, we are establishing a new fire prevention measure called a Public Safety Power Shutoff. A Public Safety Power Shutoff is a new measure designed to help keep people and communities in high-risk areas safe, by proactively shutting off power during extreme and dangerous weather conditions that can result in catastrophic wildfires. This measure would only be taken as a last resort to help ensure customer and community safety.
- Pacific Power is working with local governments and emergency services agencies to update them on the conditions when this protocol would be used and seek their input on coordination should we need to deploy a Public Safety Power Shutoff.
- Pacific Power is also launching a public wildfire education and outreach campaign starting June 24 to share wildfire safety and prevention tips and to inform customers of the company’s Public Safety Power Shutoff measure. This will include public information workshops for communities in high-risk areas.
Customers can take steps now to prepare for emergencies by keeping vegetation around their homes trimmed and low and updating their emergency plans and supplies. Customers should also contact us to ensure their contact information is up-to-date, so we can keep provide updates about increased fire risk alerts, potential power outages and updates on power restoration.