Summer may bring proactive Public Safety Power Shutoffs. Learn about PSPS, see whether you’re in a high-risk area and get ready for wildfire season no matter where you are.
As Oregon’s weather gets hotter and drier, wildfires can hit suddenly and grow quickly and create a greater likelihood of summer safety-related power outages. We’re preparing and we encourage you to prepare as well.
The safety of our customers and community is always our first priority.
If extreme weather conditions threaten our ability to safely operate the electrical grid, we will turn off power in certain high-risk areas to help protect public safety. This is called a Public Safety Power Shutoff, or PSPS. A Public Safety Power Shutoff is a last-resort safety measure. We consider wind speed, temperature, humidity, the dryness of trees and brush, field observations by our crews, as well as information from local fire departments when we’re deciding whether a PSPS is needed. If we do need to call a PSPS, we work to minimize the number of customers affected and the amount of time they are without power. And, we’ll keep you informed about what is happening and what to expect from us by communicating across a wide range of channels.
The light blue areas below show the zones in our service territory that are currently at a higher risk for a safety-related outage. This interactive map can help you learn more about these areas. Click on a zone to see more information, or enter your address in the box on the upper right to pinpoint your location so you can see if you are in a higher-risk area. We’re continuously improving our equipment and are always working to reduce the number of customers impacted. So, areas that are at a higher risk for a PSPS may change. This map will update throughout the wildfire season, with additional details and information. Learn how we identified these higher-risk areas.
For us, being prepared is a year-round effort to protect people, property and natural environments.
Our crews regularly inspect our poles and equipment and make necessary modifications or replacements to reduce the risk of a spark. For example, we’ve installed metal poles and fiberglass cross-arms that are fire-resistant.
Over that past few years, we’ve increased funding and resources for our program to inspect, trim and remove more trees and shrubs that could cause trouble with our transmission lines. This adds to our already robust line-clearing and tree trimming program that actively manages more than 2 million trees along 12,000 miles of overhead power lines.
What happens during a PSPS? Why are we doing them? How did we decide where they are? You’ve got questions, here are the answers you’re looking for.
What are the new PSPS areas PGE has identified? Why those areas?
We identified certain areas that are at a higher wildfire risk, using the latest scientific data and risk modeling, and evaluating thousands of data points, variables and scenarios including factors like temperatures, vegetation, humidity and wind speeds.
Our equipment in these areas serves parts of the Mt. Hood Corridor and foothills, the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon City, Estacada, Scott’s Mills, the Portland West Hills as well as the North, Central and Southern West Hills, and the Tualatin Mountains.
As we continue to develop and improve our wildfire mitigation work, we're partnering with local, state and federal agencies to inform our plans.
How will I know if I’m in an area that could be impacted by a PSPS?
If you are in the areas highlighted on the interactive map on this page, you are in a PSPS area, and your risk is higher for a safety-related outage during wildfire season. However, it’s possible that PGE could turn the power off in other locations, as well. In the event we need to call a PSPS, we will work to minimize the number of customers affected and the amount of time they are without power. We will keep customers informed about what is happening and what to expect from us by communicating across a wide range of channels in multiple languages, to all customers who may be impacted.
How far in advance will customers be notified prior to a power shutoff?
Before we call a PSPS, we'll make every effort to provide 24 to 48 hours of advance notice to all customers and community members who may be impacted, and another notice within one to four hours of when we may need to de-energize an area. We will also provide notice when de-energization happens, when restoration begins and again when it is complete.
We are committed to providing updates at least every 24 hours throughout a PSPS, which will include updates to estimated restoration times, using a variety of channels that may include our website, mass communications, social media, email and public safety notifications.
How long could power be out in a PSPS?
We work to restore power as quickly as safety allows.
When the threat of wildfire has passed, our crews need to visually check the lines for damage from wind-blown debris or any other problems before the power is safely turned on. It’s hard to predict how long this might take, because it depends on how many miles of equipment our crews need to inspect, the terrain they have to cover (mountain terrain, rocky areas, etc.) and the amount of damage they discover. We also ensure areas are safe for our crews before they can begin inspection.
Because these safety-related outages could last several hours or multiple days, it’s important that you have an emergency plan in place.
Will the PSPS affect my entire city or county?
No. We are able to reduce the number of customers impacted through strategically placed special equipment that enables us to divide an electric circuit into smaller sections. This helps minimize the number of customers impacted. And we continue to look for ways to segment the grid in an effort to continually limit the PSPS impacts on our customers.
When would PGE call a PSPS? What's the criteria for calling one?
The safety of our customers and community is always our top concern. If extreme weather conditions threaten our ability to safely operate the electrical grid, we will turn off power to help protect public safety.
Some of the factors that are taken into consideration when making this important decision include wind speed measurements, vegetation moisture, temperature, humidity, observations from the field by PGE crews and whether fire agency operations are moving to heightened alert.
Will a Community Resource Center be available in every PSPS zone?
In the 2020 wildfires, our CRC proved to be a very valuable community resource, providing ice, water, charging for personal electronic devices and Wi-Fi access.
We’ve identified multiple CRC locations in each high-risk area and will include these locations in our communications in the event of a PSPS. Multiple PSPS areas may be served by a shared CRC. Our goal is to make sure CRC locations are accessible, functionally appropriate for a diverse range of needs, near public transportation and otherwise easy to find.
What about medically fragile customers and those who provide care to vulnerable populations?
There is no way to guarantee any home or facility will never experience an outage. That’s why we encourage customers with medical needs and facilities that care for vulnerable populations and depend on electricity for medical equipment to have a backup source of power and contingency plans in the event of an outage.
If you have, or care for someone with, significant health needs that require electricity, please let us know and apply for a medical certificate.
Customers enrolled in our Medical Certificate program will get additional phone calls from our Customer Service Advisors before and during a PSPS. If you have a medical need, we encourage you to enroll in our Medical Certificate program today so our CSAs can partner to help you during a PSPS.