Summer is in full swing, bringing lazy days at the lake, outdoor activities, backyard barbecues, and, unfortunately, wildfire.
2020 was a record year for wildfire in Lassen County. The Hogg Fire, Sheep Fire, and many others pushed resources to the limit and brought days of smoke, ash, and power outages. During last year’s Hogg Fire, weather conditions and the threat of fire throughout the region prompted Pacific Gas & Electric to de-energize the transmission line that carries power to Lassen Municipal Utility District (LMUD). PG&E refers to this type of outage as a Public Safety Power Shutoff.
When LMUD was notified of the PSPS event, we went to backup power with Honey Lake Power (HLP). However, during the Hogg Fire, flames burned through LMUD’s transmission lines, leaving us dependent on HLP. When HLP experienced an unexpected equipment failure, all of LMUD’s customers were left in the dark. LMUD crews worked around the clock to replace and repair the damaged poles. PG&E was able to supply our system with enough power—over an alternate transmission line—to get HLP back online. The outage, which was expected to last more than two days, was restored in 20 hours.
This was an extreme situation. Normally, LMUD, PG&E, and HLP work together to make sure our system is unaffected by PSPS events. Our operations department communicates with PG&E staff so we are not caught off guard and have ample time to switch to backup power. But, as we found out with the Hogg Fire, anything can happen, and we must be prepared for every scenario. This fire season, LMUD will do everything possible to keep the power flowing to our community, but if power is disrupted, we urge you to have a plan in place.
Start your outage plan—or other disaster planning—at the Ready.gov website. Here, you can learn how to prepare your family, home, and pets for a disaster. You’ll find tips on dealing with power outages and wildfire evacuations.
If an outage does occur, you can find the most up-to-date information on our website outage map. You can also sign up for our outage text alerts by texting the letters LMUD to 877-754-7697 (POWR). You’ll receive messages regarding major outages and restoration times. Our Facebook page is another great resource for outage information. Like and follow our LMUD Facebook page. And, as always, our customer service line at (530) 257-4174 is staffed around the clock.
If you are interested in learning more about Public Safety Power Shutoffs, visit the PG&E website.