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Visitor's Guide to Planned Power Outages (PSOMs)

Siobhan Kenney
June 24, 2022
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During extreme fire weather, utility companies may shut off power to Truckee to minimize the risk of wildfire. Whether you’re visiting the area or live locally, be prepared for planned power shutoffs and know that unplanned outages are also possible during wildfire season.

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 Truckee Donner Public Utility District (TDPUD) and Liberty Utilities.

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?

  1. Extreme weather is forecast as determined by NV Energy. Criteria for extreme weather may include high winds, lightning, and/or a Red Flag Warning by the National Weather Service.
  2. TDPUD sends 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). 
  3. Power is shut off until the weather event passes.
  4. NV Energy will restore power to transmission lines once it's determined safe to turn power on. This may take up to 24 hrs to complete.
  5. 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?

In a PSOM, all TDPUD customers are expected to be without power. This includes Truckee hotels, lodging, restaurants, gas stations and shops. To report an outage to TDPUD, call 530-587-3896. Consult Liberty Utilities Outage Map to see where the power is out.

How long will the outage last?

The length of the outage depends on weather conditions, so it’s hard to say how long it will last. 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.
  • Will the garage door work if the power is out?
  • 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

  • Backup battery charger
  • Spare charging cords
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Physical map of Truckee
  • Small first aid kit
  • Flashlight with fresh batteries

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 electric 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.
  • Look up your Evacuation Zone # using your lodging address. Save this number on your phone and on paper.
  • If you are staying in a mountain home, call your property manager or host if you have questions.

Sign up for power outage alerts and emergency notifications

Planned power outages 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. If you are not a TDPUD customer but want TEXT ALERTS for TDPUD outages, text TDPUD to 333111 to sign up for Nixle.
  2. 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.
  3. Check the Truckee-Tahoe Travel Alert.
  4. Emergencies may occur during an outage. Sign up for Code Red for email and text alerts from Truckee Police, Truckee Fire Protection District, and Nevada County. Learn more.

Read our visitor's guide to wildfire season

During the summer and fall, fires may be burning in other parts of California with little to no effect on Truckee-Tahoe. Be prepared 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. Stay connected with a neighbor and your lodging host.
  4. Avoid driving unless necessary. Street lights may be out.
  5. Keep your fridge, freezer, and coolers closed as much as possible.
  6. Eat perishable foods first.
  7. Unplug appliances and electrical devices to avoid a surge when the power comes back on.
  8. Use generators and camp stoves outside, 20 ft from windows, to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. View generator safety checklist.
  9. Be patient, kind, and remember we're in this together!

Medical or emergency care during a PSOM

Tahoe Forest Hospital, located at 10121 Pine Ave in Truckee, will operate on back-up power during a PSOM. The hospital will be able to provide medical and emergency care, although some elective services and procedures may not be available. If you are experiencing an urgent or life-threatening emergency, go to the nearest Emergency Department or Urgent Care clinic immediately.

Where to get information

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

Who to follow on social media

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Additional Resources

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