Here's how to tell if your home will lose power as PG&E continues rolling blackouts

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ByAlix Martichoux KGO logo
Wednesday, August 19, 2020
Rotating power outages possible tonight
The California Independent System Operator (ISO) issued a statewide Flex Alert from now through Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. each day to promote electricity conservation.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- PG&E says no power outages are needed Tuesday night as an ongoing heat wave continues to put pressure on the state's electrical grid.

California ISO (Independent System Operator) has declared another Flex Alert and a Stage 3 emergency through Wednesday. A Stage 3 emergency means utilities like PG&E are required to conduct rotating outages to reduce electrical load on the grid, in order to prevent large, unplanned blackouts.

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PG&E isn't able to give customers advanced warning, it says, but they've set up a tool that allows you to see how likely you are to lose power.

First, you use PG&E's map to look up your address:

Open the map in a new window by clicking here.

Then you'll get an "Outage Block" number and a "Sub Outage Block" letter. Compare that letter and number combination to the second column in the chart below. That will tell you which round of shutoffs your home is included in.

For example, if your Outage Block is 1 and your Sub Outage Block is M, then your number is 1M, placing you in the first round of outages starting at 4 p.m.

If your number is 6A, you're in the fifth round of outages, which wouldn't occur until 8 p.m., if at all.

PG&E outage block 50 will not lose power in the rolling blackouts.

PG&E is planning to start turning off power to customers in the first block, and then only turn off additional power as need as the night goes on.

The outages are estimated to last two to three hours after they start, according to PG&E.

Gov. Gavin Newsom addressed the rolling blackouts in a press conference Monday.

RELATED: Power outages 'very likely' through Wednesday, Newsom says

"Let me just make this crystal clear: We failed to predict and plan for these shortages and that is unacceptable," the governor said.

Since Friday, the governor said the state has taken the following actions to reduce energy usage:

  • Newsom signed an "emergency proclamation to free up energy capacity" and therefore reduce the need for rolling blackouts. The move allows "energy users and utilities to use backup energy sources to relieve pressure on the grid during peak times during the energy emergency."
  • Large energy users are shifting to back-up power between peak hours of 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Utilities are going to use power they have stored for PSPS
  • Working with ports to reduce consumption from the grid while ships are at port
  • Working with major consumers to reduce energy usage

"Even with all of that, we are likely to fall short," Newsom said. "I am not pleased with what's happened. I take a backseat to no one."