Public Safety Power Shut-off
A Public Safety Power Shut-off is a new tool designed to keep people and communities in high-risk areas safe. We proactively shut off power during extreme and dangerous weather conditions that can result in catastrophic wildfires. This would only be used as a last resort preventative measure to ensure customer and community safety.
As part of this effort, AltaLink is working with local emergency services, to expand and enhance existing emergency response plans and work in coordination with our communities.
Given the highly situational nature of a Public Safety Power Shut-off, it is impossible to predict the customers that may be impacted. The specific area and number of affected customers will depend on forecasted weather conditions.
The Public Safety Power Shut-off is anticipated to be infrequent and only used under rare conditions.
Conditions that could trigger a Public Safety Power Shut-off
Public Safety Power Shut-offs will be initiated only in specific, previously identified areas of high fire risk when on-the-ground conditions create an extreme wildfire risk that could lead to loss of life, catastrophic damage and be difficult to fight.
We monitor a range of factors before triggering a Public Safety Power Shutoff including:
- The presence of dry vegetation and other potential wildfire fuel
- High winds
- Low humidity
- Real time observation from on-the-ground experts
What customers should expect
Wildfires conditions can change rapidly, but while there is no set timeline for Public Safety Power Shut-offs, we’re committed to providing information in the timeliest manner possible.
Whenever possible, we will provide advance notice of a Public Safety Power Shut-off. Although worsening conditions may require swift action, our goal is to alert you as early as possible before an outage.
As conditions change on the ground, we will keep you informed before, during and after a Public Safety Power Shut-off. Updates will be delivered via a range of channels including text, phone, radio, and social media, and through coordination with local emergency organizations.
Once the extreme weather conditions have passed, AltaLink crews will inspect affected power lines and equipment for damage and debris before restoring power.
We will restore your power as quickly as we safely can.
How often will Public Safety Power Shut-offs happen?
We anticipate that Public Safety Power Shut-offs will be rare. While it is impossible to predict how future fire seasons will play out, we do not expect Public Safety Power Shut-offs to become a common occurrence.
How does AltaLink determine High Fire Consequence Areas?
If the Fire Weather Index and Wind Speeds exceed a certain threshold, then AltaLink crews will make on-site observations and confirm with fire experts before making the decision to execute the Public Safety Power Shut-off.
What areas could experience a potential Public Safety Power Shut-off?
Within AltaLink's service area, extreme risk areas are in parts of Coleman, Crowsnest Pass, Hazell, Blairmore, Frank, Bellevue, Lundbreck, Burmis, and Gap Livingston Farm.
How long will a Public Safety Power Shut-off last?
In the event a Public Safety Power Shut-off is required, a number of variables are considered. A duration of such an event is directly tied to the situation and will continue until the risk is eliminated, after which line inspection and power restoration will occur.
How will AltaLink communicate with customers before, during and after a Public Safety Power Shut-off event?
We will use all communication channels available to us to notify customers and community stakeholders such as emergency management services and fire and rescue. This includes outbound calls, social media updates, media advisories, website banners and alerts.
What if I’m dependent on electricity for a medical device?
If you rely on electric or battery-dependent medical technologies such as breathing machines, a power wheelchair or scooter, and home oxygen or dialysis, it is critical that you have a plan in place for an extended power outage for all seasons, year-round.