May is National Wildfire Awareness Month: Oregon utilities urge preparing outage kit, staying informed
PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) – To recognize National Wildfire Awareness Month, Portland General Electric, Pacific Power and Idaho Power are encouraging Oregonians to prepare for fire season.
Fire-weather conditions, such as severe drought combined with summer windstorms or active wildfires, can lead to safety-related power outages.
PGE, Pacific Power and Idaho Power continue to invest in and prepare their electric grids to deliver reliable power and operate safely in all seasons. Preparedness is a year-round effort, and everyone has a part to play. As electric providers, we partner with tribes and federal, state and local agencies to plan and prepare for the upcoming wildfire season.
The Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) will be reviewing 2023 wildfire mitigation plans for investor-owned electric providers during a public meeting on May 25.
“These plans demonstrate and allow the PUC to evaluate the utilities’ work to understand wildfire risk and adapt their systems and operations to increase the safety and resiliency of electricity supply,” said Megan Decker, PUC Chair. “The work of the utilities is just part of the equation. All Oregonians have a role in preparing for and mitigating wildfires.”
Resources are available to help every Oregonian get ready for wildfire season. At wildfire.oregon.gov, Oregonians can find tips on everything from staying informed about wildfire and wildfire-related outages to making a plan for evacuations to establishing defensible spaces that help slow the spread of wildfire.
Stay in the know
Here are a few steps you can take to make sure you receive up-to-date wildfire information:
- Contact your electric provider or log in to your account and make sure all contact information is current so you can receive alerts and messages.
- If you rely on electricity to store medication or operate medical equipment, enroll in your electric provider’s Medical Certificate Program, if available, to receive proactive communications about outages. Make a backup plan with your doctor and other medical providers.
- Visit Oregon Alert to find your local alert system. Provide current contact details and sign up for wildfire alerts.
Make an outage kit
- Prepare a home outage kit to use in case wildfire leads to a power outage. Be sure to include shelf-stable food, water for people, pets and livestock, medications, flashlights, batteries and solar or car chargers for electric devices. Keep ice packs or frozen water in the freezer to help keep food cold until ice is available.
- Businesses should prepare to minimize disruption, keep employees safe and protect equipment. Outage kits should include flashlights or camp lights for all areas, including restrooms, battery-powered or hand-crank radios for information, battery-powered fans, extra batteries, car chargers for cell phones and electric devices, bottled water and emergency phone numbers.
Have a plan
- Consider options to relocate with a friend, family member or shelter, especially if medication or treatment of a medical condition requires electricity.
- Businesses should communicate their outage-response plans to key employees, plan for workarounds to computers and cash registers and make a plan to bypass electronic door locks.
- Residents and businesses should consider buying backup generators. Information on how to operate them safely is available from each of the electric providers in the information and resources below.
- Make a plan for watering livestock if well pumps are without power.
- Know how to open and close electric garage doors and security gates.
- Learn how to protect home and business electronics and appliances against data loss and surge damage when power is restored.
Information, resources and checklists
- PGE customers can visit portlandgeneral.com/wildfire for information about how PGE works to protect people, property and public spaces, including its 2023 Wildfire Mitigation Plan for information, checklists and additional resources.
- Pacific Power customers can visit pacificpower.net/wildfiresafety for resources and information including an outage preparation checklist for residential and business customers, an interactive map outlining potential public safety power shutoff areas and its 2023 Wildfire Mitigation Plan.
- Idaho Power customers can visit idahopower.com/wildfire to learn more about summer outage preparedness and what Idaho Power is doing to protect the grid from wildfires.
About Portland General Electric Company
Portland General Electric (NYSE: POR) is a fully integrated energy company that generates, transmits and distributes electricity to over 900,000 customers in 51 cities across the state of Oregon. For more than 130 years, Portland General Electric (PGE) has powered the advancement of society, delivering safe, affordable, reliable and increasingly clean energy. To deliver on its strategy and meet state targets, PGE and its approximately 3,000 employees committed to partnering with stakeholders to achieve at least an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from power served to customers by 2030 and 100% reduction by 2040. PGE customers set the standard for prioritizing clean energy with the No. 1 voluntary renewable energy program in the country. Additionally, for the fifth year in a row, PGE was recognized by the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index which highlights companies committed to creating a more equal and inclusive workplace. As a reflection of the company's commitment to the community it serves, in 2022, PGE employees, retirees and the PGE Foundation donated nearly $5.5 million and volunteered more than 18,000 hours with more than 400 nonprofits across Oregon. For more information visit portlandgeneral.com/newsroom.
About Pacific Power
Pacific Power provides safe and reliable electric service to 800,000 customers in Oregon, Washington and California. The company supplies customers with electricity from a diverse portfolio of generating plants including hydroelectric, thermal, wind, geothermal and solar resources. Pacific Power is part of PacifiCorp, one of the lowest-cost electricity producers in the United States, with 2 million customers in six western states. For more information, visit www.pacificpower.net.
About Idaho Power
Idaho Power, headquartered in vibrant and fast-growing Boise, Idaho, has been a locally operated energy company since 1916. Today, it serves a 24,000-square-mile area in Idaho and Oregon. The company’s goal to provide 100% clean energy by 2045 builds on its long history as a clean-energy leader that provides reliable service at affordable prices. With 17 low-cost hydroelectric projects at the core of its diverse energy mix, Idaho Power’s residential, business and agricultural customers pay among the nation’s lowest prices for electricity. Its 2,000 employees proudly serve more than 610,000 customers with a culture of safety first, integrity always and respect for all.
IDACORP Inc. (NYSE: IDA), Idaho Power’s independent publicly traded parent company, is also headquartered in Boise, Idaho. To learn more, visit idahopower.com or idacorpinc.com.