Press release from PG&E:
Starting today, Monday, June 29, PG&E will conduct pre-inspection helicopter flights along the North Coast to improve its Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) program by making events smaller in size, shorter in length and smarter for its customers. PG&E does NOT anticipate initiating a PSPS for the next several days.
Through the end of July, PG&E will fly several helicopters along electric distribution lines located in Humboldt, Mendocino and Lake counties to practice response during a future PSPS event.
The pre-PSPS flights are designed to gather information that helps PG&E understand the amount of time it takes to safely complete the patrol. In addition to improving overall safety, the pre-inspections help crews execute future patrols more efficiently and provide key information to better determine timing for restoring electric service to customers.
Helicopters will fly low, roughly 100 feet, Monday through Friday, but not necessarily every day, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Flights will depart the Arcata-Eureka Airport in McKinleyville and the Ukiah Municipal Airport.
Those in the areas of Hoopa and Willow Creek may see the pre-inspections today and tomorrow. If you’re in Lake County and along the coast in Mendocino county, you may see the flights starting Wednesday. Flights are scheduled for other areas through July. Schedules are dependent on weather and other factors and are subject to change.
POWER WILL NOT BE INTERRUPTED DURING THE PRE-INSPECTIONS
With the increased wildfire threat our state faces, PG&E is enhancing and expanding our efforts to reduce wildfire risks and keep our customers and communities safe. This includes improving our Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) program by making events smaller in size, shorter in length and smarter for our customers.
The sole purpose of a PSPS is to reduce the risk of major wildfires during severe weather. With more than half of the area where our customers live and work now at high risk for wildfires, PSPS is an important tool for keeping customers and communities safe.
Turning off power can prevent wildfires, but also disrupts lives and can include its own risks, particularly for those who need power for medical equipment. That’s why PG&E’s goal this year is to reduce the number of customers affected by potential PSPS events by nearly one-third compared to a similar weather event last year and restore power within 12 daylight hours after the severe weather has passed.
During an actual PSPS event, crews will inspect de-energized lines utilizing aircraft, vehicles and foot patrols to identify and repair damage before restoring power.
Thank you for your patience. For questions, please call 1-800-PGE-5000.