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Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) Events

To help reduce the risk of wildfires during strong wind events, some investor-owned utilities, including Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), are implementing a program known as Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS). When a PSPS is declared, customer power is turned off, sometimes for several days, which can have a significant impact on those left without electricity. Sacramento County residents and businesses may have questions about what to do if they were to be affected by a PSPS event and, in particular, whether or not using back-up generators for power is okay. The Sac Metro Air District has rules and regulations that may apply to the use of back-up power generators in Sacramento County. We therefore encourage you to read the information below and contact us if you have any questions.

​Who's my electric power provider – SMUD or PG&E?

The majority of Sacramento County receives its electric power from the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD). SMUD's territory is not considered to be in a high-risk wildfire area. At this time, they do not plan on implementing wide-scale power shutoff events. For more information about SMUD and their safety efforts to reduce risks from wildfires, visit their website (LINK).

A small portion of Sacramento County located near the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta receives its electric power from PG&E. Residents and businesses located in this area may be impacted by a PSPS. For more information about PG&E's PSPS program, please visit their website (LINK).

 

PG&E and PSPS

Residents:

Residents in Sacramento County who have electric service from PG&E may consider purchasing or renting a back-up generator. The Sac Metro Air District encourages you to consider the safety, noise, cost, and impacts to the air from operating a back-up generator.  Generators that use diesel fuel create exhaust that contains toxic air contaminants that are considered unhealthy to breathe. Generators can also cause a safety hazard to you and your family.  Information to consider before purchasing a generator is available on PG&E's website (LINK) and the California Air Resources has a tool to assist you in selecting emergency back-up power options (LINK).

 If you do decide to purchase a back-up generator you may be subject to Sac Metro Air District regulations such as:

  • Public Nuisance
  • District Permit Requirements

Businesses:

Businesses in Sacramento County with electric service from PG&E may be impacted by power outages. If you currently have a back-up generator or are considering purchasing one, please consider the following:

  • Back-up generators that have a permit with Sac Metro Air District may operate during a PSPS as part of their permit. Permits generally limit the amount of operation tied to emergencies, like PSPS events. If you think you may exceed your permitted limit of operation, contact the District before you exceed the limit.
  • Business that do not have District Permits may use rental generators temporarily, provided they are registered in the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Portable Equipment Registration Program (PERP). See CARB's Use of Back-up Engines for Electricity Generation During Public Safety Power Shutoff Events for guidance (LINK).
  • In some cases, generators that are not registered in PERP may be operated during a PSPS as part of an emergency event. More information about the requirements for an emergency event see page 5 of CARB's guidance (LINK).

Most situations are unique and the regulations that may apply can be confusing.  We encourage you to contact us directly with your questions or concerns so we can best assist you.

​Assistance:

For assistance call (916) 874-4800 and ask for help with PERP or e-mail perp@airquality.org

 

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