Santa Clara County residents should prepare themselves for another potential PG&E outage as wildfire season reaches it peak.
The public safety power shutoff, which is being enacted by the utility giant to curb fire risk, is expected to start Saturday night and last through Monday. About 800,000 customers in California were effected by PG&E’s power shutoff just two weeks ago.
(1/2) SAFETY ALERT: A @PGE4Me Power Shutoff may be occurring in San José starting Saturday night 10/26 and continuing into Monday 10/28. We are actively monitoring the situation and deploying our Power Vulnerability Plan to prepare for potential outages. pic.twitter.com/9eg87Sqn0d
— City of San José (@CityofSanJose) October 25, 2019
City officials estimated that 60,000 residents were impacted—mainly in the Alum Rock Foothills, Evergreen and South San Jose. Deputy City Manager Kip Harkness said earlier this month that San Jose spent $500,000 dealing with the first outage. That money was spent on extra staffing hours, supplies, vehicles moved and fuel costs. Around 150 city employees worked 3,000 hours in the field because of the blackout.
After the first shutoff, Mayor Sam Liccardo proposed buying infrastructure off of PG&E. San Francisco made the same move recently, offering to pay PG&E $2.5 billion for its equipment. However, they were denied by CEO William Johnson.
San Jose officials in particular have been bracing for the widespread shutoffs for months. The California Public Utilities Commission earlier this year gave PG&E the authority to shut off the power when fire risks ran high.
In June, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, Vice Mayor Chappie Jones and City Council members Sergio Jimenez, Raul Peralez and Pam Foley asked city officials to analyze San Jose’s energy resilience.
The councilors set out a number of priorities that including investing in energy storage and micro-grids, identifying alternative power sources to PG&E’s and coordinating with the county and other local government agencies to protect vulnerable populations such as dialysis patients and senior citizens.
Local officials say residents can prepare for the outage by doing the following:
• Creating a safety plan for all members of your family, including pets;
• Determining if your landline will work during an outage. Keep a mobile phone as backup;
• Keeping mobile phones and other devices charged;
• If you have a generator, make sure it’s ready to operate safely;
• Having flashlights available for your household. Avoid using candles;
• Having a battery-powered or crank radio;
• Stocking up on the right batteries for items you rely on. Include two extra sets;
• Keeping cash on hand and a full tank of gas;
• Learning how to manually open your garage or any other door operating with electricity;
• Talking with your building manager if you live or work in a building with elevators or electronic card access to understand how they will deal with a possible multi-day outage.
If your power does go out, PG&E warns customers to turn off appliance to avoid any damage that may be caused by a surge when the power comes back on.