ACWA Encourages Water Agencies to Share PSPS Effects

  • by Caroline Minasian
  • Oct 9, 2019
  • Water News

In response to more frequent and severe wildfires, preventative Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events have been occurring in designated high-fire risk areas. Today, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) began power shutoffs that will affect 800,000 customers throughout 34 counties. An additional 200,000 customers are under PSPS consideration within Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric’s service territories.

ACWA staff is engaging on this issue with impacted members, the investor-owned utilities and members of the legislature. To help ensure ACWA staff has a clear understanding of PSPS effects on agencies, please share PSPS information with Regulatory Advocate, Chelsea Haines. Helpful information could include the following:

  • Notification details provided to your water agency
  • Operational impacts to energy intensive facilities
  • Communications to the public in order to preserve water levels and protect public health and safety
  • Any other regulatory or operational hurdles you are experiencing

ACWA is also encouraging member agencies to educate stakeholders, customers and the media about potential effects of power outages to water and sewer services, along with steps you are taking to mitigate the impacts of a sustained power outage. Members can access a sample news release that can also be used as a template for newsletter articles, bill inserts and website and social media content.

In addition, members can watch a recent webinar hosted by ACWA’s Energy Committee.

The power shutoffs are occurring because of the dry and windy weather that has the potential to rapidly spread wildfires. PSPS events are important but also create significant operational challenges for water agencies that rely on energy to collect, convey, treat and distribute water supplies to their customers.

Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric Company have created a collaborative website, www.prepareforpowerdown.com, with information about PSPS and registration to receive PSPS alerts.

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