"ePublic Safety Power Shutoffs"


Last updated 3/24/2021 at 1:44pm

Public safety power shutoffs can disrupt life throughout San Diego County. The shutoffs can wreak havoc on the community and come at inopportune times. In fact, Fallbrook had their power shutoff on Christmas Eve while a fire burned on Camp Pendleton.

It’s not just the rural areas that have been impacted by these shutoffs. In many instances, cities in the North County have had their power cut for prolonged periods of time. During a power shutoff in 2019, the battery life on a traffic signal at a major North County intersection died and went dark. (Incidentally, if a driver encounters a signalized intersection that is not energized, the intersection is considered an all way stop).

This created a major safety hazard, leaving residents to fend for themselves on an emergency evacuation route. It was clear from seeing it firsthand and from the phone calls my office received, that additional strategy and planning was needed when it comes to public safety power shutoffs.

Last week, I partnered with Supervisor Joel Anderson to address the gaps and improve coordination when it comes to high-wind power shutoffs. The item works to create greater collaboration with transportation agencies, municipalities and partners with San Diego Gas & Electric to enhance plans to address impacts and address safety issues, especially during lengthy public safety power shutoffs. Most importantly, this item will increase safety, by replacing, backup batteries at major intersections and back up generations at our fire stations.

I’m happy to announce that the Board item passed unanimously and I look forward to keeping you updated on the progress!

Jim Desmond

– San Diego County District 5 Supervisor