Our office hours have changed to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Learn more

Understanding Outages

Understanding Power Outages

California’s electric grid contains thousands of miles of transmission lines and tens of thousands of miles of distribution lines. Transmission lines are the “highway” on which the electricity we use moves. Distribution lines are like the city streets that bring the electricity to your meter. They can be susceptible to outages for a variety of reasons.

Remember safety first! Stay far away from a downed powerline and call 911 immediately!

Public Safety Power Shutoffs

Extreme fire danger conditions may threaten portions of the electric distribution system serving a community. Under the direction of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), investor-owned utilities, like PG&E, have been instructed to turn off the power in the interest of public safety. These events are known as Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS).

PSPS events are special outages taken as a last resort to prevent fires during extremely hot weather or high wind events. Hot weather combined with winds and dry vegetation creates high fire risks. The CPUC requires PG&E to notify customers about PSPS events in advance. Keep your contact information updated with PG&E. If you do not have a PG&E account (those who have submeters like in many mobile home parks), sign up for PSPS alerts by zip code.

Fire Zones

Placer County and El Dorado County have Tier 2 and Tier 3 high hazard fire zones (map) and may be especially prone to these PSPS events. In addition, PG&E has added grasslands in Tier 1 fire zones to their list of areas for possible PSPS events. In support of public safety and care for the residents and businesses it serves, Pioneer provides a consolidated list of resources and information about being prepared for PSPS events.

Enhanced Powerline Safety Shutoffs

Enhanced Powerline Safety Shutoffs (EPSS) events are unplanned outages caused by PG&E equipment designed to respond to dangerous conditions on a specific circuit or distribution line. PG&E introduced this program in July 2021, resulting in significant outages in Eastern Placer and El Dorado Counties. PG&E continues to adjust the sensitivity of the equipment to provide maximum safety while minimizing customer outages and is committed to informing customers about these events.

If you experience an outage in the Pioneer Service area, contact PG&E to report the outage at 1 (800) 743-5000 or view reports on current outages, here.

Unplanned Power Outages

Unplanned outages occur throughout the year and are mostly because of damage to some part of the electricity infrastructure. Damage comes from

  • Trees, vegetation or mylar balloons striking the lines
  • Animals, like rodents and large birds
  • Accidents, like vehicles striking a power pole
  • Someone cutting into an underground line


If you experience an outage in the Pioneer Service area, contact PG&E to report the outage at 1 (800) 743-5000 or view reports on current outages, here.

Planned Outages

Most planned outages are for maintenance of PG&E line, poles and equipment. For planned outages, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) requires PG&E to notify customers in advance.

Solar Systems and Power Outages

Solar systems allow homeowners to generate their own electricity, but when there is an outage, solar systems also stop working.

To protect the people who work on the lines, a solar system is designed to stop generating power when the power lines are out. During a power outage, batteries may turn on as backup for the solar system, diverting power to the battery and appliances. Power does not go to the grid.

Backup Generators

Backup electric generators can be part of your response plan for PSPS or other power outage events. Here are some tips for generator safety.

Be Prepared for PSPS

PSPS events may last for several days. Prepare yourself, your home, your business and your family.


Visit the Safety Action Center for more helpful hints about preparing for PSPS events.

Fire Safety Resources

Across California, fire has become an increasing concern. Fortunately, numerous resources exist so you can prepare yourself and your family for wildfires and other fire events with information and advanced planning.

If you have any questions about other ways to reduce your energy bills, please contact your Pioneer Community Energy team by email at info@pioneercommunityenergy.org or by phone at (916) 758-8969.

Pioneer Community Energy white logo