Shutting down power for public safety is now the new normal for PG&E during fire season. It's already happened in smaller towns in the North Bay.
But what if it happened to a city the size of San Jose? How would it work? Those are the questions San Jose city leaders are asking.
PG&E power lines were blamed for sparking last fall’s deadly Camp Fire, the most destructive wildfire in state history.
The utility has said the shutoffs could happen in San Jose because its distribution and transmission lines are in wildfire prone areas. In fact, the company says the area surrounding San Jose is considered an elevated or, in some cases, extreme fire threat.
Customers are being warned that outages could last for days.
PG&E has said if possible it would notify residents 24 to 48 hours prior to a shutoff via email, phone and text. It will also post information on Nextdoor, Twitter and Facebook.
Here are some things the city and PG&E say residents can do to be prepared:
- Know how to open your garage door manually.
- Have cash on hand in case ATMs are unavailable.
- Have a full tank of gas
- Make sure your cellphone is fully charged and/or you have backup batteries ready.
- Have an emergency supply kit with enough food and water that will last for 5 days.
The California Public Utilities Commission has ordered PG&E to work with cities on these types of shutdowns. San Jose City Council members want to hear specific plans from the utility, and they will have questions.