Even though the City owns and manages our own electrical utilities, we rely on power supplied by PG&E. If PG&E needs to turn off power for fire risk, outages may impact Palo Alto
On Tuesday, Oct. 8, PG&E issued a press release confirming it will likely implement a Public Safety Power Shutoff in portions of 34 Northern and Central California counties in order to reduce wildfire risk during the extreme weather conditions period forecasted for Wednesday, Oct. 9 through Thursday, Oct. 10. In addition, the City’s utilities may shut off power to some customers in the Palo Alto Foothills.
Since power could be off for several days, the City of Palo Alto wants to help you prepare and stay informed during a power shutoff. The following blog post provides additional ways the community can be prepared before and during a potential shutoff.
What this means to Palo Alto Residents
The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning, which means forecasted high temperatures, gusty winds, and low humidity, for the period of Wednesday, Oct. 9 and Thursday, Oct. 10. Electrical services could be impacted as early as midnight October 9 and extend over the next 24 hours or longer.
As a result, the City is taking several steps to ensure critical services continue with limited interruptions to the community. This includes minimizing impacts to our residents and local businesses, ensuring public safety services continue and maintaining other essential City services including water, gas and sewer services continue to operate on generators, if needed.
If an outage occurs, the City will provide additional updates as we know more.
Palo Alto services that will continue uninterrupted, during a power outage:
- All public safety services will continue as normal
- Fire stations will be open and staffed as normal
- Other essential services will continue including water, gas and sewer services
- The Palo Alto Fire Prevention Bureau will be fully staffed and functional. Unless the occupancy/site is impacted by the power shutoff, scheduled inspections will take place
- For general Fire Department inquiries, call 650–329–2184.
- For non-emergency public safety issues, call (650) 329–2413.
- Call 911 for emergencies only
- If there is an outage, expect certain City facilities will be closed and the City encourages the public to check City of Palo Alto Facebook, Twitter or Nextdoor for updates
- Other updates will be listed at www.cityofpaloalto.org
UPDATE as of October 10, 8:00 p.m.:
The Red Flag Warning has been lifted, and wildfire threat levels reduced. PG&E is working to restore power to impacted customers. Palo Alto Utilities lines have been checked and no issues were found.
Wildfire threats could continue through the fall/early winter. PG&E could force future power outages and as a result the City encourages the community to prepare for future wildfire threats.
Go to www.cityofpaloalto.org/psps for details and updates.
Plan In Advance
Build an emergency supply kit
Include items like food, water, cash, power banks, batteries, flashlights, pet food, and medicine. Have enough supplies on hand to last three days and refresh your kit once a year.
Plan for medical needs for you and your loved ones
Make sure you have a backup power solution for your medical devices and your prescriptions are filled. Ensure any backup generators are ready to operate safely.
Travel and Monetary Preparations
· Keep cash on hand and a full tank of gas. ATMs, credit card transactions and gas stations may not be operating during an outage.
· If you drive an electric vehicle, have your car fully charged
· Learn how to manually open your garage or any other door that operates with electricity.
· Talk with your building manager if you live or work in a building that has electronic key card access to understand how they will deal with a possible multi-day outage.
· Only call 9–1–1 during a true emergency situation. Police, fire and other emergency services will be fully staffed and operational throughout the duration of the outage.
Household Outage Tips
· If you don’t have a surge protector, unplug or turn off appliances, equipment, and electronics to avoid damage caused by surges when the power is restored.
· Typically, your refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours, and a full freezer will hold its temperature for about 48 hours — as long as the freezer and refrigerator doors are kept closed. Consider using coolers with ice to keep food cold and safe.
· If you need to use generators, camp stoves, or charcoal grills, use only outdoors in a safe area. Do not use a gas stove for heat.
· Leave a single lamp on before the outage occurs, that way you will know once the power returns.
· Check on your neighbors who have medical issues or live alone.
· Only call 9–1–1 during a true emergency situation.
More Online Resources
For more resources about Utility Outages in Palo Alto, go here.
Santa Clara County PSPS Page
To sign up for Santa Clara County Emergency Alerts, go here.
PG&E updates, go here.
For other emergency preparedness tips, go here.