PG&E Cuts Power to Oakmont for Much of Two Days

     Power was shut off to most Oakmont homes in the early morning of Tuesday, Sept 8 as part of what the utility calls a Public Service Power Shutdown to protect against wildfires during high winds and hot weather. Power was restored in most cases around mid-day on Wednesday, Sept. 9.

   Alerts in advance of the shutdowns were sent by email and texts to customers of PG&E who signed up for notification. 

   During the shutdown,, Oakmont Village Association opened a power recharging station in Room B, behind Umpqua Bank and adjacent to the OVA office so members could recharge their  mobile phones and other devices.

   A power generator OVA has purchased to provide emergency service to the Central Complex buildings was in place but not ready for service. The switching equipment needed to go to backup power from the generator arrived only a few days before the PSPS outage and wasn’t yet installed by the contractor. It was expected the generator should be ready for a subsequent power outage.

   Sonoma County restrictions under the COVID-19 pandemic will limit the number of people who could use recharging stations in the Berger Center or CAC. 

    Here is the PG&E news release issued ahead of the shutdown:

Amid Extreme Heat, Forecasted Offshore Dry Wind Event Means PG&E Might Need to Proactively Turn Off Power for Safety in Portions of 21 Counties, Mostly in the Sierra Foothills

PG&E is Notifying Customers Who Might Be Affected by the Public Safety Power Shutoff

State Grid Operator’s Flex Alert Remains in Effect, Calling for Power Conservation from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.

SAN FRANCISCO – Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) continues to monitor a potentially widespread, strong and dry offshore wind event forecasted to start Monday evening and continue through midday Wednesday. Given the expected conditions, PG&E began its 24-hour advance notifications to customers in areas where PG&E may need to proactively turn off power for safety to reduce the risk of wildfire from energized power lines. PG&E is learning from past PSPS events, and this year will be making events smaller in size, shorter in length and smarter for customers.

Monday Flex Alert: Energy Conservation Needed 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The extreme weather is also increasing demand on the statewide electric grid. Separate from any Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) event, the state’s grid operator has issued a Flex Alert, a voluntary call for energy conservation to help balance power supply with demand. That Flex Alert runs from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. today. 

Potential Public Safety Power Shutoff to Start Monday

The potential PSPS starting Monday evening could impact approximately 158,000 customers in portions of 21 counties in the Sierra foothills and North Bay. Specifically, customers in portions of the following counties are being notified: Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Humboldt, Kern, Lake, Mariposa, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sonoma, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolumne and Yuba.

The potential PSPS event would not go into effect until late Monday evening. PG&E’s in-house meteorologists, as well as its Wildfire Safety Operation Center and Emergency Operations Center, continue to monitor conditions closely and additional customer notifications will be shared.

The scope of this event changed based on updated weather forecasts that showed the strengthening of the system, increasing the footprint of the expected wind pattern. 

Customer notifications—via text, email and automated phone call—began late Saturday afternoon, approximately 48 hours prior to the potential shutoff. Customers enrolled in the company’s Medical Baseline program who do not verify that they have received these important safety communications will be individually visited in person by a PG&E employee when possible. A primary focus will be given to customers who rely on electricity for critical life-sustaining equipment.

How customers can prepare for a PSPS

As part of PSPS preparedness efforts, PG&E suggests customers:

  • Plan for medical needs like medications that require refrigeration or devices that need power.
  • Identify backup charging methods for phones and keep hard copies of emergency numbers.
  • Build or restock your emergency kit with flashlights, fresh batteries, first aid supplies and cash.
  • Keep in mind family members who are elderly, younger children and pets.