Manager’s Message — June 2021
As wildfire season rapidly approaches, we all need to be prepared. Learn how to protect your home and family at the Ready for Wildfire website.
Being prepared includes being ready for Public Safety Power Shutoffs. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) plans to turn off portions of its grid during extreme fire danger, high wind events, and other critical situations. PG&E notified us it intends to disconnect lines in medium- to high-risk areas in the Sierras. This could affect our primary power supply that comes through the Feather River Canyon.
When PG&E notifies us it intends to shut off our transmission feed, we will provide as much notice as possible to members. Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative (PSREC) will post information to our website, Facebook and Twitter, our SmartHub app, and will contact members via email and text message. To sign up for text message and email notifications, log in to the SmartHub app from your mobile device or from our website and set your notification preferences. If you need assistance, please contact us at (530) 832-4261.
During PG&E shutoff events, we will switch to our backup transmission feed from NV Energy. There is a limit to how much energy we can bring through that line, so members need to be prepared for outages and rolling blackouts. During a power outage, please disconnect all nonessential electrical loads. Every light and appliance turned off will help PSREC re-energize more of our system. If our power transmission system is constrained, conservation helps keep our electrical system stable and enables us to serve you and your neighbors.
Plumas-Sierra has also taken steps to reduce our fire risk. We have switched our system to “single shot”, meaning that our system will not try to reclose into a fault. This is normal for us to do during July, August, and September, but due to the extreme drought, we went to single shot in May, the earliest we have ever done so. To our members, this means we will have more short outages. We have to patrol the lines once that circuit opens, and we will bring back power in sections. Our Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system will help with the restoration of power, but most of our circuits will take some time to restore power once the circuit is tripped. We apologize for the inconvenience, but we don’t have a choice. Being on single shot was the reason for the outage affecting Cromberg, Greenhorn Ranch, and American Valley on May 9.
Preparing for power outages can help make the best of a bad situation. Equip your home with a power outage kit that includes a flashlight, battery-powered lamp or lantern, and extra batteries; candles and matches; a battery-powered radio with extra batteries; easily accessible emergency phone numbers for your utility, doctor, fire, and police; a telephone connected directly to the phone jack (corded phones do not require electricity to operate); a one-week supply of drinking water and nonperishable food; and a cooler for storing frequently used foods. Food spoils more quickly if the refrigerator door is opened. Keep these items on hand to make an outage more tolerable: a manual can opener; an alternative cooking source; and a deck of cards, board games, and books.
If someone in your home depends on electric-powered, life-sustaining equipment, make a plan for backup power.
If you are going to install a generator and connect it to your home’s electrical system, please make sure it is installed to code using an automated system such as a Generac switch, or a manual double-pull double-throw switch that separates your house from the grid.
Failure to install these measures could cause injury or fire, leading to potentially massive liability on your part and disconnection from the grid, if discovered.
For more information on a double-pull double-throw switch, please talk to a licensed electrician.
Never use a generator, grill, camp stove, or other gasoline, propane, or charcoal-burning device inside a home or garage. Locate the unit away from doors, windows, and vents to prevent exposure to carbon monoxide.
Please install surge protectors on any sensitive electronics and appliances. Be sure to buy surge protectors that have a warranty for your connected load.
PST continues to expand and upgrade its broadband network throughout the region. We now provide fiber-optic service to areas of Portola, Quincy, Graeagle, Plumas Pines, Johnsville, Mohawk Vista, Janesville, and many other towns and neighborhoods.
PST’s coax and wireless broadband services offer download speeds of up to 20 Megabits per second. Our fiber optic services can go up to 1 gigabyte per second, with even faster speeds available if needed. With these speeds, you can stream videos on multiple devices at the same time without slowing down. You could even eliminate your cable bill by switching to streaming services. For more information and to sign up for service, call us at (530) 832-4261 or visit the Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications website.