Get ready for power shutoff events

Get ready for power shutoff events, PG&E provides new notifications

Get ready for power shutoff events
As the Fall fire season begins, PG&E has announced new Watch and Warning notifications for when Public Safety Power Shutoff events may occur.

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY — PG&E has enhanced its notifications to provide more detail about when you can expect power to go out. New notifications will also tell you when power may return. The company continues to fine tune its communication with customers during Public Safety Power Shutoff events. PSPS events occur during severe weather to help prevent wildfires.

Weather reports indicate triple digit temperatures in the next few days so some areas may lose power.

New Watch and Warning Designations: PG&E has responded to direct customer feedback requesting more information as soon as possible. This helps to ensure people have time to prepare and plan in advance of a potential PSPS event. Because of this, PG&E will provide Watch and Warning notifications this year.

Watch Alert

Whenever possible, they will send an initial Watch notification two days in advance of a potential PSPS event. An additional Watch notification will follow one day before the potential PSPS event. This will notify customers of the possibility of a PSPS event in their area based on forecasted conditions.

Warning Alert

A PSPS Watch can upgrade to a Warning. This  occurs when forecasted conditions show that a safety shutoff becomes necessary, and that it is going to happen soon. Whenever possible, they will send Warning notifications approximately four to 12 hours in advance of the power being shutoff.

Both Watch and Warning notifications directly tie to weather forecasts, which can change rapidly. Examples include predicting the time and area of landfall for tropical storms and hurricanes in the southeast United States.

Customers will see an estimated time when their power will return two days before it goes out. Last year, they didn’t provide an estimated time of restoration until the power had been turned off.

Watch and Warning alerts will go out via automated calls, texts and emails. Both Watch and Warning alerts have improved since 2019. The company did customer testing, made adjustments based on feedback. Because of this, they will now provide new essential information, including:

  • Your address so you know you’re getting the accurate information for your home.
  • The date and time when power is estimated to be shut off. (For example, between 6 and 10 p.m. on Oct. 7.)
  • The estimated date and time when we expect power will be restored. (For example, by 4 p.m. on Oct. 9)

Restoring power

When they turn power off, PG&E will provide updates to customers at least once a day until they restore power. Power will remain off until the weather has passed, and they can inspect equipment. PG&E is seeking to cut restoration times in half compared to 2019 so that power is restored to the majority of customers within 12 daylight hours after severe weather has passed. PG&E will send a final notification once power has been restored.

“Regardless of reason, we understand how disruptive it is for our customers to be without power. This year will be even more challenging as many of us will need to shelter-at-home in response to COVID-19,” said Laurie Giammona, Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer for PG&E. The company wishes to “improve our PSPS notifications to help customers plan for an outage when we need to turn off power to reduce the risk of a major wildfire.”

Additional resources

  • PG&E’s emergency website ( now has 13 languages available. Previously, the website provided English, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Russian, Vietnamese and Korean versions. They added six additional languages in September to include Farsi, Arabic, Hmong, Khmer, Punjabi and Japanese.
  • The company encourages customers to update their contact information and indicate their preferred language for notifications by visiting or by calling 1-800-742-5000, where in-language support is available.
  • Tenants and non-account holders can sign up to receive PSPS ZIP Code Alerts for any area where you don’t have a PG&E account by visiting
  • PG&E has launched a new tool on their  online Safety Action Center ( to help customers prepare. By using the “Make Your Own Emergency Plan” tool and answering a few short questions, visitors to the website can compile and organize the important information needed for a personalized family emergency plan. This includes phone numbers, escape routes and a family meeting location if an evacuation becomes necessary.

Smaller, Shorter, Smarter PSPS events

Here’s how PG&E has made PSPS events smaller in size, shorter in length and smarter for customers.

  • Smaller in Size: PG&E is upgrading its electric system to prevent wildfires and reduce the impact of future PSPS events on our customers. They expect to reduce the number of customers affected by a potential PSPS event by about one-third compared to a similar weather event last year.
  • Shorter in Length: PG&E seeks to cut restoration times in half compared to 2019 so that power returns to the majority of customers within 12 daylight hours after severe weather has passed.
  • Smarter for Customers: PG&E is working to provide better information and resources to customers and communities before, during and after a PSPS event. This includes delivering more assistance and outreach to help vulnerable customers. This smarter approach will include giving customers alerts with information about when they will turn off power and turn it back on. They will also upgrade Community Resource Centers so that customers without power have a place to go for device-charging and other basic needs. PG&E remains flexible with CRC deployment plans to adjust to the COVID-19 restrictions and best practices

For more information on PG&E’s wildfire safety efforts, visit