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Visitor's Guide to Summer Power Outages (PSOMs)

Siobhan Kenney
July 23, 2021
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Summer power outages may affect Truckee during times of extreme wildfire danger. Whether you’re visiting or live locally, it’s important to have a plan and be prepared. We understand that an outage can disrupt vacation plans, business operations, and day to day life. Have patience, take a deep breath, be kind to others, and remember that we're all in this together.

PSOM: PUBLIC SAFETY OUTAGE MANAGEMENT

What is a PSOM?

PSOM stands for Public Safety Outage Management, a program by NV Energy to protect high-risk communities during extreme weather events. When there is an imminent threat of fire danger, NV Energy will shut off power delivered via transmission lines to the Truckee Donner Public Utility District (TDPUD).

Liberty Utilities, which services Truckee surrounding areas, will also shut off power as part of their Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) program.

What is the chain of events leading up to a PSOM?

First, extreme weather is forecasted - high winds, lightening, and a Red Flag Warning by the National Weather Service.

Next, TDPUD will send emergency notifications 48-24 hours and 12-4 hours before the outage to the owner of the Hotel or Mountain Home. Visitors, make sure you sign up for emergency notifications (see below). The power will then be shutoff until the weather event passes.

Afterwards, energy lines must be individually inspected which can take from 12 to 24 hours to complete. Once it's determined safe to turn power on, NV Energy will restore power to transmission lines and TDPUD will restore power to affected areas in Truckee. It may take 8-12 hours for TDPUD to restore power after NV Energy. Learn more here.

What areas will be affected?

Truckee hotels, lodging, restaurants, gas stations and shops may not have power for the duration of the PSOM/PSPS. Consult TDPUD's Public Outage Map or Liberty Utilities Outage Map to see where the power is out.

How long will the outage last?

The length of the power outage depends on weather conditions, so it’s hard to say how long it will last. And before the power is turned on, the entire electric system must be visually inspected. TDPUD expects outages to last “one to a few days.”

BEFORE A POWER OUTAGE - ADVICE FOR VISITORS

Questions to ask your lodging provider

  • What supplies will be provided in the event of a power outage? Ask about flashlights, batteries, nonperishable food, bottled water, and other emergency items.
  • How will you be notified of a power outage or wildfire evacuation? Sign up for emergency alerts (below) and ask how your lodging provider will notify you of emergency events.
  • Is a backup generator available? If you are staying in a mountain home, a generator may be provided for backup power. Always operate according to instructions and read this generator safety checklist.

What to pack before your trip

What to do if you are alerted of an outage

  • Practice manually opening electronic entries such as key card locks, garage doors, gates, and pin pads.
  • Get gas or charge your vehicle.
  • Charge your phone and backup battery charger.
  • Stock up on nonperishable food items. Keep a manual can opener handy.
  • Get bottled drinking water. It’s recommended to have 1 gallon per person per day.
  • Fill coolers with ice.
  • Locate flashlights and spare batteries.
  • Make a plan for your pets and their needs.
  • Make a plan for medical devices that require power.
  • If you are staying in a mountain home, call your property manager or host if you have questions.

Sign up for power outage warnings and emergency notifications

PSOMs and PSPSs will typically come with advance notice of 24-48 hours before the power shutoff. Here’s how you can find out if an outage is happening:

  1. Bookmark or Google Truckee Travel Alert.
  2. Get notified via text, email or phone of emergency events by the Truckee Fire Protection District, Truckee Police, and Nevada County. Use this link to sign up, and learn more about opt-in alerts here.
  3. If you own a home in Truckee, update your TDPUD contact information to get email and text alerts ahead of a PSOM. Liberty Utilities customers should call 1-800-782-2506 to update their contact information and get alerts.
  4. If you are not a TDPUD customer, you can sign up for TDPUD email alerts here.

Read our visitor's guide to wildfire season

Wildfire season typically spans summer and fall in Truckee. During this time, fires may be burning in other parts of California with little to no effect on Truckee-Tahoe. Be prepared by by reading our Visitors Guide to Wildfire Season for everything you need to know.

DURING A POWER OUTAGE - ADVICE FOR VISITORS

What to expect

When the power goes out, it may not be possible to get gas, ice, or other commodities; cell phones may lag as towers experience high congestion; and restaurants, grocery stores, retail shops, and other businesses may be closed.

Tips for when the power is out

  1. Stay hydrated!
  2. Limit phone use to conserve battery for alerts and keep communication lines open for emergencies.
  3. Avoid driving unless necessary. Street lights may be out.
  4. Keep your fridge, freezer, and coolers closed as much as possible.
  5. Eat perishable foods first.
  6. Unplug appliances and electrical devices to avoid a surge when the power comes back on.
  7. Use generators and camp stoves outside, 20 ft from windows, to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. View generator safety checklist.
  8. Be patient, kind, and remember we're in this together!

Where to get information

If you are experiencing an emergency, call 9-1-1.

Who to follow on social media

Keep an eye on these social media accounts for real time updates during a power outage.

Twitter

Facebook

Additional Resources

Power Outage Information from ReadyForWildfire.org

Power Outage Tips from Ready.gov

Wildfire Emergency Preparedness from TDPUD

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