Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS)
- Check the SCE Map of PSPS Outages
- Check the SCE Map of Current Power Outages
- View SCE's Circuit Name Map for PSPS Alerts
- Sign up for SCE PSPS Alerts (receive by E-mail, text, or phone call)
- View Customer Resources & Support
You may also contact SCE Customer Service at (800) 655-4555 for information about PSPS or other matters related to your electric utility service.
While SCE proactively de-energized portions of Moorpark as early as 2019, the City was very dramatically impacted in late 2020 and early 2021. In the largest event, from January 19-21, 2021, SCE de-energized six of the ten circuits that serve Moorpark, turning off power to 8,362 customers for upwards of 40 hours. During these disastrous de-energization events, SCE struggled to effectively communicate with its customers and communities about its operational status, making the situation even worse. SCE's recent Circuit Reliability Review and PSPS Post Event Reports are linked below:
- SCE's Wildfire Mitigation Plans (2019-2022)
- SCE's August 3, 2021 Presentation to CPUC: SCE Readiness for 2021 PSPS
- Key Takeaway: SCE claims that their grid hardening efforts to be completed by October 1, 2021 would have reduced the number of customer-minutes of PSPS outages by 70% on circuits that have been subject to four or more PSPS outages, assuming the same weather conditions in 2021 as 2020. This 70% figure accounts for some construction delays (would be a 78% reduction in down-time when all work is completed).
- SCE's 2021 Circuit Reliability Review for Moorpark
- SCE's 2020 Presentation to CPUC: Planning for Public Safety Power Shutoffs
SCE's Response to PSPS De-Energization Events
In addition to the CPUC meetings and February 12, 2021 Corrective Action Plan described above, SCE has undertaken efforts to prevent PSPS outages and mitigate the effects when they do occur. On March 23, 2021, SCE hosted an online community meeting (watch video recording) specifically for the Moorpark and Simi Valley communities, which had both been severely impacted by PSPS outages. At the meeting, SCE presented key actions to improve their PSPS performance and took questions from the public. Key takeaways during the meeting include:
- Expedited Grid Hardening: As required in its Corrective Action Plan, SCE identified its circuits that were most frequently impacted by PSPS outages (defined as four or more de-energization events since 2019). SCE then analyzed those 72 circuits across its service area to identify ways to reduce the need for potential PSPS outages (while acknowledging it could not guarantee no PSPS outages if extreme enough weather occurred). Grid hardening options include segmenting circuits, relocating wires underground, installing switches, installing improved weather detection infrastructure, and switching to insulated wires as well as operational changes such as switching protocols and using in-person observers.
- Improved Communications: SCE committed to improving the frequency, accuracy, and clarity of communications of potential and actual PSPS de-energization events.
- Improved Mitigation Programs and Outreach: SCE explained how they will improve outreach and awareness of its wildfire mitigation programs, including portable power rebates, critical care backup batteries, hotel discounts, income-qualified solar installations, and other rebate programs.
SCE shared the map below at its March 23, 2021 community meeting for Moorpark and Simi Valley showing the circuits that will benefit from their Expedited Grid Hardening efforts.
- Green/Blue Areas: SCE has implemented operational changes (green) or will switch customers to adjacent circuits (blue), so these areas are now very unlikely to be subject to a PSPS de-energization event
- Yellow Areas: SCE has identified PSPS mitigations and will complete construction before the 2021 Santa Ana Wind season
- No Color: These areas were not subject to enough PSPS de-energization events to qualify for SCE's Expedited Grid Hardening efforts according to its February 12 Corrective Action Plan.
You can also check the status of SCE's physical construction improvements on SCE's website. Note that the areas in green and blue did not require physical construction, so those circuits are not included on the SCE website.
The City remains concerned that some affected Moorpark neighborhoods - notably Varsity Park and the neighborhoods near Moorpark College - remain subject to significant PSPS risk and will continue to push SCE and state officials to eliminate this risk.
On August 3, 2021, the CPUC conducted a hearing at which SCE representatives explained their readiness for the 2021 PSPS season (watch video). During its presentation, SCE noted the following accomplishments:
- Removed 81,000 customers from PSPS scope (did not specify how many in Moorpark)
- Installed 7 new switches, installed 9 new weather stations, and added automation to 17 existing switches
- Installed more than 700 miles of covered conductor
- Expects a 70% reduction in PSPS duration and a 47% reduction in PSPS frequency for the most frequently impacted circuits
SCE also touted improved PSPS communications systems to provide better accuracy and timing of their messages. Their improvements include:
- Including more actionable information in messages, such as estimates of when power will be restored rather than just saying power is being restored
- Reducing false positives where SCE customers inaccurately received notifications that their power is on/off
- Removing duplicate messages where customers received multiple identical messages
State Response to SCE's PSPS De-Energization Events
In California, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has regulatory oversight of investor-owned utilities like SCE (local governments do not have regulatory authority). On January 19, 2021, CPUC President Marybel Batjer sent a letter to SCE expressing deep concerns with SCE's execution of PSPS outages and ordered multiple SCE executives to appear before the CPUC at a public meeting to be held on January 26, 2021, and submit a Corrective Action Plan to the CPUC by February 12, 2021 explaining how SCE will improve its performance. She was specifically concerned with:
- Transparency of the PSPS decision-making process
- Execution of the notification process
- Coordination and communication with state and local governments
- Identification and notification of Medical Baseline and Access and Functional Needs customers
- Quality of PSPS post-event reports
At the CPUC's January 26, 2021 meeting (watch video), SCE officials took questions and comments from the CPUC Commissioners, local government officials (including Moorpark officials), and members of the public for nearly five hours. As ordered by the CPUC, SCE then submitted its February 12 Corrective Action Plan to the CPUC.
The CPUC held a follow-up public meeting on March 1, 2021 (watch video) to discuss SCE's Corrective Action Plan, with SCE officials to present the plan, answer questions, and receive CPUC Commissioner and public comments. Pursuant to CPUC direction, SCE continues to provide bi-weekly updates to the CPUC to demonstrate ongoing compliance and adherence to its Corrective Action Plan.
On August 3, 2021, the CPUC conducted a hearing at which SCE representatives explained their readiness for the 2021 PSPS season (watch video).
In addition to the above, the CPUC requires SCE to prepare and submit annual Wildfire Mitigation Plans to report and their planning and prevention/mitigation efforts, dating back to 2019.
City's Response to PSPS De-Energization Events
Although the City does not have direct regulatory control over SCE or PSPS outages, City officials have been actively engaged with SCE and state legislators and regulators to address the impacts of PSPS outages on Moorpark. In 2021, City activities have included:
- January 26, 2021 CPUC Hearing: In addition to verbal testimony from Mayor Janice Parvin (meeting video), the City submitted written comments expressing concerns with SCE's poor performance.
- SCE Corrective Action Plan: City staff reviewed SCE's February 12 Corrective Action Plan, with particular interest in SCE's plans to analyze frequently-impacted circuits for expedited grid hardening efforts. While SCE's failure to take the actions contained in the plan two years ago when it began de-energizing circuits is confoundingly frustrating, the plan does contain meaningful changes that, if implemented, will reduce (though not eliminate) the impacts of PSPS in many portions of Moorpark. Moorpark officials did attend the CPUC's March 1 public meeting on SCE's Corrective Action Plan, but did not provide verbal or written comments.
- March 23, 2021 SCE Community Meeting for Moorpark/Simi Valley: City officials were active participants in the community meeting, pushing SCE to expand its grid hardening efforts to expeditiously remove PSPS risk from the rest of Moorpark. While SCE said they remained committed to doing so, they did not provide a timeline.
- Legal Actions: The City is actively participating in the CPUC's investigatory and rulemaking processes, with CPUC granting Moorpark official party status on April 19, 2021. As a result of resultant legal actions, some improvements have already been gained through CPUC rulemaking, including:
- SCE's Community Resource Centers (CRCs) will provide charging for medical devices, not just small personal electronics (In Moorpark, CRCs can be located either at the Arroyo Vista Recreation Center or at City Hall, depending on where power is out).
- SCE will improve outreach and education for tenants of master-metered properties, such as mobile home parks
- SCE will develop notification protocols for circumstances where telecommunications systems are not working.
- State Legislation: City officials have had multiple conversations with State Senator Henry Stern and State Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (who represent Moorpark in the California legislature) to discuss ways to address PSPS outages and their impacts. Many options were explored, and Senator Stern introduced legislation in 2021 (Senate Bill No. SB 533) in Sacramento that would have established a five-strikes-and-you're-out requirement. If a circuit was de-energized five times due to PSPS outages, a utility would have 12 months to harden infrastructure to remove the need for a PSPS outage on that circuit. Moorpark Mayor Janice Parvin spoke as a lead witness in support of SB 533 at the Senate Energy, Utilities, and Communications Committee hearing on April 19, 2021.
However, subsequent to the bill's introduction, SCE's Corrective Action Plan established a four-strikes-and-you're out timeline, thus rendering SB 533 largely moot. On April 26, 2021, SB 533 was amended to require electrical corporations to identify (in their Wildfire Mitigation Plans, which are submitted annually to the California Public Utilities Commission for review) circuits that have frequently been
de-energized to mitigate the risk of wildfire and the measures taken, or planned to be taken, by the electrical corporation to reduce the need for future de-energization of those circuits. In doing so, electrical corporations will be held more accountable to follow through with their plans, such as SCE's Corrective Action Plan.
City officials continued to advocate for SB 533 through the California State Assembly and State Senate, and Governor Newsom signed SB 533 into law on September 23, 2021.
- Public Information During PSPS Outages: The City shares what limited information we receive from SCE during PSPS de-energization events with the public through our social media outlets (follow us on Facebook and Twitter). However, we do not have access to SCE's internal communications systems and can only share information they share with us. The City continues to be frustrated with SCE's communication during PSPS outages.
Additionally, because City infrastructure and facilities have also been subject to multiple PSPS de-energization events, City officials have created and repeatedly implemented PSPS protocols to ensure it can continue to provide municipal services, including police and other emergency services, traffic signals, debris removal, building inspection, and other critical services during extreme weather events and power outages.
What are Public Safety Power Shutoffs?
Over the last decade, California has experienced increased, intense, and record-breaking wildfires in Northern and Southern California. These fires have resulted in devastating loss of life and billions of dollars in damage to property and infrastructure. Electric utility infrastructure has historically been responsible for less than ten percent of reported wildfires; however, fires attributed to power lines comprise roughly half of the most destructive fires in California history. With the continuing threat of wildfire, utilities may proactively cut power to electrical lines that may fail in certain weather conditions to reduce the likelihood that their infrastructure could cause or contribute to a wildfire. This effort to reduce the risk of fires caused by electric infrastructure by temporarily turning off power to specific areas is called a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS). However, a PSPS can leave communities and essential facilities without power, which brings its own risks and hardships, particularly for vulnerable communities and individuals.
Who is in charge of Public Safety Power Shutoffs?
Southern California Edison owns and operates the electrical distribution system in Moorpark (and across Ventura County) and initiates Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) when they determine that weather conditions pose an extreme risk of igniting a wildfire. The PSPS program is regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and by state law. Local governments do not have any direct regulatory or jurisdictional authority over the PSPS program, although the City of Moorpark does work to mitigate impacts of PSPS power outages locally. Please visit the below websites for more history, background, and resources for PSPS de-energization events:
What are SCE's thresholds for de-energizing a circuit?
At their August 3, 2021 presentation to the CPUC about PSPS readiness (watch video, at 52:15), SCE said they look at each circuit individually and base their decision on a "Fire Potential Index" that estimates the potential of fire ignition and spread based on vegetation, moisture, and 25 years of fire history. Additionally, SCE identified the following activation thresholds as generally triggering a PSPS:
- For Bare Wire Circuits: 99th percentile historic windspeed for a given circuit or sustained windspeeds of 31 mph or gusts of 46 mph
- For Covered Wire Circuits: Sustained windspeeds of 40 mph or gusts of 58 mph
Additional information is available from SCE at www.sce.com/pspsdecisionmaking.
How have Public Safety Power Shutoffs affected Moorpark?
Moorpark has been affected by SCE's Public Safety Power Shutoffs in 2019, 2020, and 2021. Many times, SCE has de-energized significant swaths of Moorpark during these events, sometimes for periods of multiple days. The most recent large-scale PSPS event took place from January 19-21, 2021, during which SCE proactively de-energized six of the ten circuits that serve Moorpark, turning off power to 8,362 customers for upwards of 40 consecutive hours. The outage included most of the community's critical Los Angeles Avenue corridor where many of Moorpark's businesses and employers are located.