How to Prepare for Summer Blackouts

Jul 10th 20

Summer blackouts are a new way of life in California. These blackouts take place almost every Summer due to wildfire season. According to NPR, “PG&E plans to power down parts of the grid whenever there’s a high risk of wildfire. The last two fire seasons were the worst on record, and the utilities’ electrical equipment caused much damage.” Although this quote pertains to PG&E, this is relevant to every utility company in the state of California. Every utility company practices this policy. Southern California Edison states that “When there are potentially dangerous weather conditions in fire-prone areas, we may need to call a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) event. During these events, we will proactively turn off power in high fire risk areas to reduce the threat of wildfires. Turning off our customers’ power is not something we take lightly, but PSPS events are one of the ways we can better ensure the safety of the public, our customers, and our employees.” These events are predicted to occur throughout Summer because of wildfire season.

There are many ways to know if you’ll be impacted by these outages. On every utility companies’ website, there is a map explaining what areas are predicted to be impacted over others. In addition, you may sign up for alerts and the utility company will text you when these events will occur. Here is a list to see how your neighborhood may be affected by these Public Safety Power Outages:

Southern California Edison

PG&E

San Diego Gas and Electric

Nobody is truly safe from safety power outages unless you install a backup battery system. When installing a backup battery with solar, it will keep your house running throughout these Public Safety Power Outages. The reality is that California is prone to fire danger as the wildfire season in the past has become uncontrollable. Since there have been several destructive wildfires throughout California, utility companies plan these Summer blackouts to prevent such events from happening again. This year’s budget was increased to ensure that vegetation and any problems have been cleared out and up to date before the wildfire season begins. With a total budget of 2.7 billion dollars to prevent such events from occurring, this document from PG&E states that only $700 million was applied so far to prevent wildfires. With being this behind on schedule, there is still a lot of work to complete. Therefore, the utility company is relying on Summer Blackouts to prevent fire

Why Do Summer Blackouts Happen?

As we begin to enter the hotter months, it is necessary to understand that Summer blackouts will happen and why exactly they happen. How Stuff Works declares that, “When an energy crisis reaches a Stage 3 emergency, California ISO notifies local electric suppliers that there will be a load reduction on the statewide system. These local suppliers than implement a system of rotating power outages.” As these rotations of power outages begin this Summer to prevent wildfires, we want to take this time to educate you on how you can prepare for a power outage this Summer. Because it is bound to happen.

Due to the smaller amount of rainfall that has occurred in California this past spring and winter, this fire season will last longer as well as earlier than the previous year.

When Will the Utility Company Determine the Need to Shut Off Power?

Fire danger is the main reason for these Summer Blackouts to take place, but if a power line breaks, the grid will shut off. In 2018, utility companies were researching different sensors for the power lines to shut off the gird. Sacha Von M, an electrical engineering professor from the University of California, Berkeley explains how “The sensors can detect if a line is broken and then within a split fraction of a second, shut the power off to that line before it hits the ground.” Broken power lines are another reason for Public Safety Power Outages to take place. Other reasons include high wind, low humidity, dry vegetation that could serve as fuel, on-the-ground observations, fire threat to electric infrastructure or public safety risk (SCE).

How Long Will Utility Companies Take to Restore These Power Shutoff’s?

Once a Public Safety Power Shutoff occurs, every situation is different to turn power back on. All utility companies state to plan for multiple power outages throughout the Summer. Somewhere between 0 to 5. PG&E claims that they have attempted to cut the restoration time in half during 2020 however, to still plan for multiple day power outages. SCE explains that, “Each utility determines when a PSPS is called and how it will be implemented. California’s three largest investor owned utilities, at the direction of the California Public Utilities Commission, are coordinating to prepare all Californians for the threat of wildfires and power outages during times of extreme weather.” There is no set number of hours or days of when power will be restored after these shutoffs. What is best is understanding your options on how to prepare for such events.

These Summer blackouts are planned for your safety even though they are a pain to live through. There are several ways to prepare for these public safety power outages. As living through these power outages, ourselves, we have come up with a list of ways to prepare for the planned Summer blackouts.

Planned Summer Blackouts

The backup battery will allow your essentials to run, so you will not need to experience the true pain of a power outage such as scrambling to save food with your cooler or struggling to find a flashlight to see. When combined with Solar, the backup battery system will keep your lights on for up to seven days in the situation of a power outage.* Adding a backup battery system will allow you to feel safe and prepared during a power outage.

When preparing for Summer blackouts, the best option is to talk to a consultant that can help you discover opportunities to fit your needs. For a free consultation, fill out our form or call us at 888-244-2513. Don’t wait, ensure that you don’t get left in the dark.

*Disclaimer: Length of system usage can differ based on units that are connected. Infinity Energy does not guarantee 7 days or more for customers.

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