Be Prepared for Public Safety Power Shutoffs

The National Weather Service has forecasted a likely transition from El Niño to La Niña within the coming months. Southern California has been influenced by El Niño conditions since Spring 2023, which means that the ocean water temperatures have been higher and the weather is cooler and wetter. The transition to La Niña (and warmer, dryer temperatures) could occur as early as June and as late as September.

What does this mean? It’s not going to be as gray anymore (yay)!  What else does this mean? Wildfire conditions will become a concern again (boo).

The City of Goleta would like to remind its residents of the potential for Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) should extreme wildfire conditions emerge; an example of these conditions are hot temperatures, high wind speeds, and low humidity in the area. A PSPS is a tool of last resort for electric power providers, like Southern California Edison (SCE), where the power is intentionally turned off for a large area to prevent the electrical system from becoming a source of wildfire ignition. The power could be turned off in your neighborhood for over 72 hours. If you have backup power generators at your home or business, it’s a good idea to test them each month to ensure they are ready in case of a power interruption.  

Why so long? It’s because SCE personnel have to inspect all of the vulnerable parts of the electrical system before turning the power back on. If there is a downed power line and the power is immediately turned on without inspection, then SCE would ignite the same wildfire that was being prevented. The inspections can take time, especially when high wind conditions prevent helicopters from being used in the area.

Goleta urges its residents to prepare in case of emergency. You can find out more about PSPS by visiting SCE’s website here, and begin to make an emergency kit by going to here. You are also encouraged to schedule a free Community Disaster Education Course with the City’s Emergency Services Coordinator, and here you can learn the first steps of how to prepare you and your family for an emergency.

A little bit of preparation now can go a long way later. Don’t wait, prepare now.