Be Prepare For The Power Safety Shutoffs

Nov 21, 2019

With the recent Public Safety Power Shutoff events that are causing a major disruption to our daily lives, affecting business, public safety, the rising cost of PG&E bills and it seems like this power shutoffs are more often and longer each time. But now, there are many ways to be prepared for the upcoming PSPS. That is why we want to share these tools with you.

Make sure you have plenty of water, food, batteries for flashlights and lanterns, extra gasoline, and cash to last at least a week.

Food Safety: 

Food Safety is very important during a power outage since all the food safety comes down to temperature. Make sure you know the time and temperature that you can keep your food. for example, your refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4hrs if it is unopened. As temperatures rise, bacteria are more likely to grow on the food, even if you don’t see it. The FDA says that if the food was above 40º F for two hours or more, you need to discard it. Visit our blog for more information about Food Safety During A Shutoff.

Community Resource Center:

During the PSPS, we know that no everyone has a generator or can drive to stay with family; that is why PG&E has open available Community Resouce Centers; there will be food, water, electricity, and more. Make sure you know where is the closest to you. And, if you rely on electric or battery dependent medical devices? Read PG&E Medical Device Tips and make an emergency plan today!

Generators:

If you are using a generator during the PSPS, make sure to use your generator correctly. Misusing a generator can lead to dangerous situations like Carbon monoxide poisoning from engine exhaust. Even if you can’t smell exhaust fumes, you may still have been exposed to carbon monoxide. If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get fresh air right away. If you experience severe symptoms, get medical attention immediately. It can also spark a fire; The Occupational Safety and Health Administration have some great tips about the Generator Safety.

Solar:

Other options to look at are adding solar panels and a battery backup to your home. Did you know that in 2020, California will be one of the first states to mandate that all new homes have a solar system?  With solar, not only do you offset your monthly utility bill, but it adds value to your home. As rising utility prices continue to go up, solar costs continue to go down, making the ROI usually within 5-8 years.

Battery storage:

Batteries provide three benefits to your solar system;

  1. In the event of a power outage, you will have a backup stored power to keep items such as your fridge, lights, and phones and computers charged and running.  You won’t be caught off guard the next time we have a power outage.
  2. The other year-round benefit is that you can store energy in the daytime from your solar panels and use that storage at night when PGE prices are at their peak.
  3. Lastly, you can sell back the power to your utility company when prices are high (Peak hours) and buy during the day when rates are low.

Solar/Battery/Generator – Complete Home Comfort Package:

You may ask yourself why not just disconnect from PGE altogether and go off-grid.  Well, there are some major pluses to still having the utility company and to use them to your advantage.  If you have a hybrid system with solar, battery storage, generator, and PG&E, you have the best of all solutions.  All complete off-grid systems have no access to any energy other than what their solar panels can store into the batteries.  When it’s cloudy, raining, or snowing for several days, not much sun is charging those panels, and the battery bank is getting depleted, so that means the generator will have to run until it fills the battery bank.  If you have the grid-tied in, you simply allow energy from PG&E to charge the batteries when they are low without ever having the generator run.  If, however, power is out, you’ll always have the generator as backup.  It’s what you could call a complete home comfort package that runs seamlessly through any PSPS or stormy weather.