Pacific Power Says Power Could Be Turned Off For “Days” During Fire Emergencies
Pacific Power has recently updated their website with information and maps regarding the new policy of “public safety power shut offs”. According to the information recently posted on their website, Klamath Falls is not in the high risk areas. However, some areas in Klamath County are.
The following link at Pacific Power’s website shows risk areas in southern Oregon where power shut offs are possible during extreme fire conditions.
According to the Pacific Power website, power could be turned off for periods of several days if a situation deemed as a public safety emergency existed. This could result from weather conditions favorable for fast fire development such as low humidity and dry windy conditions.
According to the map, Keno, Chiloquin, and areas along 140 East are in potential shut off areas. The website also states that areas outside the risk zones could be on the same circuits shut off that are inside the zones. It’s important to understand that just because your house or business may not be inside a zone, there could still be extended power outages outside the zones.
Now is the time to plan and prepare for extended power outages!
From Pacific Power:
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.
As part of this effort, Pacific Power is working with local emergency services agencies, the Oregon Department of Forestry, and community leaders across Oregon, Washington and California to expand and enhance existing emergency response plans and work in coordination with our communities.
Given the highly situational nature of a Public Safety Power Shutoff, it is impossible to predict the customers that may be impacted. The specific area and number of affected customers will depend on forecasted weather conditions.
Our goal will always be to impact as few customers as possible and apply Public Safety Power Shutoff measures in a highly-targeted, circuit by circuit manner. The number of customers impacted will depend on the specific forecasted weather conditions each region.
Maps are available at the bottom of this page.
Conditions that could trigger a Public Safety Power Shutoff
Public Safety Power Shutoffs will be initiated only in specific, previously identified areas of high fire risk when on-the-ground conditions create an extreme wildfire risk that could lead to loss of life, catastrophic damage and be difficult to fight.
We monitor a range of factors before triggering a Public Safety Power Shutoff including:
- The presence of dry vegetation and other potential wildfire fuel
- High winds
- Low humidity
- Real time observation from on-the-ground experts
What customers should expect
Wildfires conditions can change rapidly, but while there is no set timeline for Public Safety Power Shutoffs, we’re committed to providing information in the timeliest manner possible.
48-HOURS: ADVANCE WARNING
Whenever possible, we will provide advance notice of a Public Safety Power Shutoff. Although worsening conditions may require swift action, our goal is to alert you as early as possible before an outage.
As conditions change on the ground, we will keep you informed before, during and after a Public Safety Power Shutoff. Updates will be delivered via a range of channels including text, phone, radio, and social media, and through coordination with local emergency organizations.
Once the extreme weather conditions have passed, Pacific Power crews will inspect affected power lines and equipment for damage and debris before restoring power.
We will restore your power as quickly as we safely can. Because of the steps involved in ensuring that the fire risk has abated, a Public Safety Power Shutoff may last for several days.
How will Pacific Power notify customers of a Planned Safety Power Shutoff?
Pacific Power will notify customers as soon as possible if extreme weather conditions combined with on-the-ground observations signal that a Public Safety Power Shutoff is required to safeguard customers against the start and rapid spread of wildfire.
Pacific Power is working closely with emergency services, fire and rescue, local officials and other agencies to ensure clear communication during a Public Safety Power Shutoff.
Pacific Power will use multiple and combined ways to notify customers of an impending Public Safety Power Shutoff to include: outbound calls, social media channels (Facebook and Twitter), and the company website and media advisories. We’ll also work through and with local emergency agencies to keep customers informed.
Public Safety Power Shutoff
Here’s an overview of our Public Safety Power Shutoff process.
While Pacific Power will provide as much advance warning as possible, rapidly changing conditions may require that we operate within a shorter timeframe.
3 to 7 days before: Pacific Power is actively monitoring forecasts for hazardous weather conditions that could lead to a Public Safety Power Shutoff.
Up to 2 days before: Once extreme weather conditions and other hazardous variables are met and sustained, Pacific Power begins coordinating with emergency services and local officials. Customers receive first notification of a possible Public Safety Power shutoff.
1 day before: Extreme wildfire conditions persist. Coordination between Pacific Power and emergency services continues. Customers receive second notification.
Power shutoff: Extreme fire conditions persist remain and coordination continues. Customers receive third notification that power will be turned off to prevent wildfire ignition.
Power restoration: Extreme wildfire conditions have abated. Pacific Power crews patrol lines to inspect for damage and hanging debris. Power is restored once all lines are cleared and if repairs are required. Customers receive a fourth and final notification that power has been restored.
WILDFIRE SAFETY MAPS
We’re providing wildfire safety maps to help customers prepare this season. The maps are designed to denote both Fire High Consequence Areas and potential Public Safety Power Shutoff areas. The maps show the relationship between these two areas by visually depicting them when and where these areas intersect or overlap.
The areas outlined in orange are “Fire High Consequence Areas“. These areas are at a higher risk of a catastrophic wildfire spreading quickly during extreme weather conditions. People living in fire high consequence areas should take steps to prepare by creating defensible space around their property and having a wildfire emergency plan.
The areas outlined in blue are “Potential Public Safety Power Shutoff Areas.” These are areas where, if specific extreme weather conditions are present, Pacific Power may turn off power in the interest of public safety. In the rare event of a Public Safety Power Shutoff (also known as a PSPS), we would turn off power on a circuit-by-circuit basis based on extreme weather conditions and real-time, situational information. A Public Safety Power Shutoff would be used as a last resort and with the goal of impacting as few customers as possible.
Some customers outside of Public Safety Power Shutoff areas could be impacted by a Public Safety Power Shutoff due to the interconnected nature of transmission and distribution lines.
HOW TO USE THE MAPS: Use the “Overview Map” on page one to find the number that corresponds to your residence or business location. The number matches the page number where you will find a more detailed map of your area. You can scroll, use the search function (magnifying glass), or type the number into the page number box to find the map of your area.
We recommend opening the map files in Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer browsers.
Maps last updated June 25, 2019.
There are two different layers on the maps linked in this section and are labeled accordingly.
The layer labeled “Fire High Consequence Areas” show areas that are at a higher risk of a catastrophic wildfire spreading quickly during extreme weather conditions. People living in fire high consequence areas should take steps to prepare by creating defensible space around their property and having a wildfire emergency plan.
The layer labeled “Public Safety Power Shutoff” show areas that if specific extreme weather conditions are present, Pacific Power may turn off power in the interest of public safety. In the rare event of a Public Safety Power Shutoff, we would turn off power on a circuit by circuit basis based on weather conditions and real-time, situational information.
Some customers outside of the Public Safety Power Shutoff area could be impacted by a Public Safety Power Shutoff due to the interconnected nature of transmission and distribution lines. Our goal will always be to impact as few customers as possible.
Have questions about a Public Safety Power Shutoff? We answer frequently asked questions here.