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SCE’s Public Safety Power Shutoff program


Southern California Edison’s (SCE) Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) program is an operational practice that SCE may use to preemptively shut off power in high fire risk areas to reduce fire risk during extreme and potentially dangerous weather conditions. These conditions would typically involve weather conditions such as relatively low humidity, strong winds, and hot temperatures in combination with dry fuels.

The City of Riverside may be affected by a PSPS event if SCE must shut off power on the transmission lines from the Vista Substation which provide the City’s only connection to the regional electricity grid or if power is shut off on other major transmission lines that support Riverside. In such situations, Riverside will rely on electricity provided by its internal electricity generation at the Riverside Energy Resource Center (RERC) and from the Springs Power Plant. Even with internal generation, customers of Riverside Public Utilities may experience power outages due to the SCE PSPS event which could last as long as 7 days.

The City of Riverside and Riverside Public Utilities encourage residents and businesses to be aware of the potential for an SCE PSPS event and be prepared for a multi-day power outage.

Information below provides details on what a PSPS event is, how to prepare, and how to receive notifications.


How does it affect Riverside residents?

housingSCE operates and maintains the electric distribution and transmission grid outside the City of Riverside. The larger transmission grid brings most of the electricity into the City. If large transmission lines are de-energized or constrained, then RPU may need to reduce load quickly to help the greater transmission grid. Depending on the severity of the event it may mean power shutoffs or rotating outages in the City of Riverside.

Regardless of the reason for the outage, every step is being taken to restore power as soon as possible. RPU will be providing status updates and information on restoration times as it become available through RPU’s social media and through RiversideAlert regarding restoration times as they become available.


What is the Southern California Edison (SCE) Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) program?


SCE’s Public Safety Power Shutoff Criteria

Each extreme weather event which may require a Public Safety Power Shutoff is unique. While no single factor will drive a Public Safety Power Shutoff, some factors include:

  • A red flag warning declared by the National Weather Service
  • Low humidity levels – generally 20% and below
  • Forecasted sustained winds generally above 25 mph and wind gusts in excess of approximately 45 mph

What should I do to prepare?


What to expect

If a Public Safety Power Shutoff is needed due to extreme weather conditions, you can expect:

  • Early Warning Notification – When possible, SCE will notify RPU 72 hours, 48 hours, 24 hours and just before power lines are turned off.
  • Ongoing Updates – RPU will provide ongoing updates through social media and on RiversidePublicUtilities.com. Updates will continue until power is restored.
  • Safety Inspections – After extreme weather has passed, SCE and RPU will inspect the lines in affected areas before power is safely restored.
  • Power Restoration – Power outages could last multiple days depending on the severity of the weather and other factors. It is important that you and your family have an emergency preparedness plan in place.

Working together to protect our communities from wildfires

housingWith the growing threat of extreme weather and wildfires, SCE’s Public Safety Power Shutoff program includes all distribution and transmission electric lines that pass through high fire-threat areas. SCE will only turn off lines in the interest of safety to help reduce the likelihood of an ignition when extreme fire danger conditions are forecasted.

Safety is RPU’s number one priority. If extreme conditions, such as high risk of fires threaten our system, we may be required to temporarily turn off power to protect public safety. The decisions to turn off power as a last resort, requires a balancing of several factors such as: circumstances of the emergency, wind speed, temperature, humidity and field observations.

Although the risk is low, if we must shut off power when the demand for power is extremely high, rotating outages could occur. Rotating outages would be a last resort and we’ll use every tool at our disposal, including load management, commercial customer curtailment and buying power on the open market before we would consider rotating outages.

Sign up for RiversideAlert for outage notifications.