Public Safety Power Shutoffs FAQs

Powering Off for Wildfire Safety

When there are potentially dangerous weather conditions in fire-prone areas, we may need to call a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) event. During these events, we will proactively turn off power in high fire risk areas to reduce the threat of wildfires. Turning off our customers’ power is not something we take lightly, but PSPS events are one of the ways we can better ensure the safety of the public, our customers, and our employees. 

How do PSPS events work?

When forecasts indicate elevated weather conditions, we’ll begin assessing the potential impact to affected areas. We’ll analyze historical data to help predict the likelihood of a wildfire occurring, closely monitor weather watch alerts from the National Weather Service (NWS), and place incident responders on alert, if needed. Disclaimer: Erratic or sudden onset of conditions may impact our ability to provide advanced notice to customers.

First Notification: 2 Days Ahead

If weather conditions warrant a possible PSPS, we will notify potentially affected customers.

Second Notification: 1 Day Ahead

If weather conditions persist, we will notify impacted customers again.

Third Notification: Power Shutoff

When weather conditions confirm the decision to shut off power, we will send a notification to impacted customers.

Fourth Notification: After Restoring Power

After weather conditions return to safer levels, our field teams will check to make sure that power can be safely restored. We will send a notification telling impacted customers that power has been restored.

How can I find out if I live in a high fire risk area?

A PSPS event may be called if you live in an area that has been deemed as a high-fire threat area by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The CPUC has created maps to help you find out if you live in one of these affected areas.

View Maps

How can I prepare for PSPS events?

  • Keep important phone numbers (fire department, paramedics, police, hospital, doctor, relatives, etc.) by the phone
  • Place flashlights in handy locations, such as near the phone
  • Familiarize yourself with your home’s utility boxes (electricity, water and gas) and how to turn them off; keep the proper tools to do so handy
  • Learn how to manually open your automatic garage doors or gates
  • Keep the gas tank in at least one car half full at all times
  • If you have a portable gas generator, identify an outdoor location where you can safely use it during a power outage - never use it indoors
  • Make a safety preparedness plan for your family, including a list and location of the above items and a plan for how pets will be cared for
  • Be prepared to meet the special needs of any infant, elderly, or disabled people in your household

For more information, visit prepareforpowerdown.com.


Public Safety Power Shutoff: What is it and how does it work?

1. What is a Public Safety Power Shutoff?

The threat of wildfires in California is real and growing. One of the ways SCE is reducing wildfire risks is Public Safety Power Shutoffs. During these events, we may need to proactively shut off power temporarily as a result of elevated weather conditions — such as strong winds, high temperatures and dry vegetation — that can cause a power line to fall and spark, possibly creating a wildfire. PSPS events are temporary and are meant to keep you and your community safe.

While it is difficult to predict how often elevated weather conditions may occur, the threat of wildfires in California is real and growing. Californians need to be prepared with a plan and have an emergency kit.

2. Under what conditions will SCE call a PSPS?

Elevated weather conditions can cause vegetation or other items to be blown into power lines possibly creating a wildfire. Under these situations, we may temporarily shut off power to customers to keep you and your community safe. SCE considers a number of factors and conditions before declaring a PSPS. These include, but are not limited to:

  • High winds (including Red Flag Warnings declared by the National Weather Service)
  • Low humidity
  • Dry vegetation that could serve as fuel
  • On-the-ground observations
  • Fire threat to electric infrastructure
  • Public safety risk
3. Who makes the decision to do a PSPS?

Each utility determines when a PSPS is called and how it will be implemented. California’s three largest investor owned utilities, at the direction of the California Public Utilities Commission, are coordinating to prepare all Californians for the threat of wildfires and power outages during times of extreme weather. Find more information about this statewide effort at: prepareforpowerdown.com.


How will customers be impacted by a Public Safety Power Shutoff?

4. Who will be impacted by PSPS?

Customers who live in high fire risk areas as defined by the California Public Utilities Commission are more likely to experience a PSPS. However, customers who do not live in these high fire risk areas may also be impacted because of how the electrical grid is interconnected. SCE has a network of circuits providing power to 15 million people within a 50,000-square-mile area of central, coastal and Southern California. Anyone in California could be impacted by emergency events such as PSPS and need to be prepared with a plan.

5. What about customers who rely on medical equipment for their health and safety?

We engage and identify critical care customers on an ongoing basis well before a PSPS. Power outages also happen in our service area unrelated to a PSPS, so customers need to be prepared to ensure medical equipment will still run during an outage. We encourage our critical care customers to have a backup plan now. Customers with special medical equipment should ensure that we have their most up-to-date contact information so we can notify them of a power shutoff.


What happens before, during and after a Public Safety Power Shutoff?

6. How we communicate before, during and after a PSPS.

We intend to notify affected customers approximately two days in advance of a potential power shutoff. This notification will be via email, text or phone call. We may also send another notice to customers about one day before a potential power shutoff. We will keep customers updated regularly on our website and social media channels. We will also notify affected customers when power has been restored.

7. Does SCE coordinate with local governments and first responders before and during a PSPS event?

In advance of PSPS events, SCE will meet with local governments, emergency management community and first responders to inform them about the PSPS protocol, including the location of circuits in their jurisdictions which may be shut off during a PSPS.

8. How long will it take for my power to be restored after a PSPS event?

A PSPS event will last as long as the dangerous fire weather conditions exist. If circuits are shut off, those circuits and lines will be inspected to ensure there are no problems that might create a danger before power can be safely restored. SCE crews will need to visually inspect the power lines during daylight hours so operations may be limited during overnight hours.

Customers should be prepared to be without power for an extended period of time during a PSPS. Customers should prepare emergency plans now. Click here for more details.

9. Will there be rotating outages during a PSPS?

System reliability may be impacted during a rare, wider scale PSPS event and could result in rotating outages. Customers could be without power for an extended period of time and should take steps now to be prepared. Find preparedness tips at: readyforwildfire.org.

10. What other steps is SCE taking to reduce wildfire risk?

Turning off power during elevated weather events is just one component of SCE’s Wildfire Mitigation Plan. We continue to reduce the risk of electrical equipment igniting wildfires, going beyond industry practices to address the new conditions we are facing. We’ve implemented a variety of technologies for advanced fire safety, including installation of new high-definition cameras, weather stations and miles of insulated power lines. We are also expanding operational practices such as enhanced overhead inspections, vegetation management and emergency response protocols.