Recent California wildfires have prompted electricity providers to implement rolling blackouts across the state, making a consumer energy outage possible at any time.
This is part of the “Public Safety Power Shutoff” program that is meant to keep communities safe from extreme weather and wildfire conditions.
Some of the worst wildfires in recent California history were sparked by downed electrical lines, and even though these rolling blackouts may cause alarm, they are meant to prevent these wildfire outbreaks that threaten homes and lives. That's why it's so important to prepare an emergency plan in advance in case your family is affected by a safety shutoff or other emergency.
California Power Outages
California’s main energy utilities—SDGE, Southern California Edison (SCE), and PG&E—have all implemented a rolling blackout strategy as a safety precaution when conditions are hazardous.
Hazardous conditions that could result in wildfires if sparked include:
Additionally, the utilities constantly monitor conditions on the ground and assess if their electrical infrastructure is under a fire threat. If the threat is high, Californians could see their power cut until it’s safe. Even if you don’t live in a fire zone, you could still see your power cut if your electric lines run through one.
When possible, the utilities will try and give advanced warning that a rolling blackout is coming. You can also always monitor this electric outage map for an idea of where the power is out.
Preparing for a Rolling Blackout
Take the following steps to prepare yourself and your family for the possibility of a rolling blackout.
Create a family emergency plan so everyone knows what they’re doing and where they’re going during an outage.
Have an emergency generator on hand. You don’t know how long the blackout will last so having backup power is crucial. You don’t want to spend days in the dark.
Keep an eye on your utility’s website and the resources we’ve linked to above for the latest blackout updates.
If you live in California and need an electric generator to back up your home, then you must make sure your generator is CARB compliant.
CARB stands for the California Air Resource Board, which regulates air quality in the state. It provides emissions standards that engines, like those in generators, need to meet in order to operate legally.
Californians need to be ready for a power outage at all times. Despite their massive inconvenience, the rolling blackouts are meant to make everyone safer in the long run.