Pacific Gas & Electric Co. will conduct Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) drills to practice response during a PSPS event in Angels Camp on July 24 and 25, using helicopters, according to a July 23 PG&E press release. Power will not be interrupted during the drills.
“Given the continued and growing threat of extreme weather and wildfires, and as an additional precautionary measure following the 2017 and 2018 wildfires, we are expanding and enhancing our Community Wildfire Safety Program to further reduce wildfire risks and help keep our customers and the communities we serve safe,” the release states. “In response to the rapidly changing environmental conditions in our state, this includes expanding our Public Safety Power Shutoff program to include all electric lines that pass through high fire-threat areas – both distribution and transmission. In the event of extreme weather, we will proactively de-energize the lines, shutting off power, for the safety to those communities.”
During an actual outage event, crews will inspect de-energized lines from the sky and from the ground to identify and repair damage before restoring power.
Practicing those inspections will improve the time it takes to turn the power back on safely, according to the release. Those in the Angels Camp area may see a helicopter in the vicinity and additional PG&E and contractor trucks over those two days.
“We know how much our customers rely on electric service and that there are safety risks on both sides. We understand and appreciate that turning off the power affects first responders and the operation of critical facilities, communications systems and much more.”