Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) 

Puget Sound Energy (PSE), a major utility in western Washington, has developed a wildfire safety plan that includes Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS). This safety measure is designed to prevent wildfires by temporarily shutting off power lines in high-risk areas. 


Notification and Restoration Procedures 

If wildfire conditions become sufficiently dangerous, PSE will notify customers before initiating a power shutoff. After shutting down the lines, PSE crews will inspect for damage and ensure the area is safe before restoring power. Depending on the extent of the damage and other conditions like poor visibility or ongoing fires, power restoration could take several days. 

Criteria for Power Shutoffs 

PSPS can be triggered by a combination of factors, including strong winds, dry vegetation, and low humidity. To give customers adequate time to prepare, PSE aims to send notifications at least two days in advance. 

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Increased Investment in Wildfire Prevention 

In 2022, PSE and other Pacific Northwest energy companies increased spending on wildfire prevention. Several utilities submitted plans to reduce the risk of power lines sparking wildfires, with PSE focusing on Cle Elum in Kittitas County as a key area for their safety initiatives. 

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