Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS)

When the National Weather Service (NWS) forecasts critical fire weather conditions -high winds (Santa Ana events), along with high temperatures and low humidity - the power companies (Southern California Edison (SCE) in Malibu and much of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties) may proactively shut down power in certain at-risk areas to reduce the threat of wildfires.

What is a PSPS?

Malibu is separated into areas serviced by SCE circuits. During a PSPS, power to all properties within a specific circuit(s) identified as at-risk for a wildfire will be turned off until the weather conditions change. 

Once the threat has passed, SCE crews must inspect all electrical equipment (transformers, power poles, etc.) to ensure power can be safely restored. This process may take 24 to 72 hours to complete.

How are residents notified of a PSPS?

SCE will directly notify all customers in the affected circuit area at least 48 hours in advance of a potential PSPS implementation. An update will be sent at least 24 hours in advance of the time when the power may be shut off.

The City also receives notifications from SCE whenever any part of Malibu has been identified for a potential PSPS. After receiving that notification, the City uses all of its communication options to inform the community:

  • Disaster Mass Notification: This message will be sent just to residents within the PSPS area
  • Emergency Alerts and Utility Advisories: These messages are sent to all subscribers in the City website's e-notification system, as well as Nixle subscribers
  • Social Media: Details are posted to the City's Facebook, Twitter, and NextDoor accounts
  • City Website: Details will be posted on the website homepage
  • Emergency Hotline: Information is recorded on the City's hotline (310-456-9982) for those unable to access the internet 

See links under Resources below to subscribe or update your contact information so you receive these critical notifications from the City.

What should I do if my home is in the PSPS area? How can I prepare for a power outage?

A PSPS event will last as long as the dangerous fire weather conditions exist, plus the amount of time it takes for SCE to check its power lines, which could take hours or days depending on the size of the area. 

Residents outside the PSPS area should also be prepared for unscheduled power outages caused by heavy winds. Some tips for what you can do before the power goes out include:

  • Lighting: Battery-operated or solar-powered flashlights and lanterns are safer than candles to provide lighting in and around your home. 
  • Cash: Always have emergency cash available for food or other necessities. ATMs may not be functioning and, while some stores can remain open without power, they may not be able to process credit card transactions.
  • Fuel: Gas station pumps may be inoperable - fill up your car with gas before the power is shut off.
  • Refrigeration: A refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours. A full freezer will keep its temperature for about 48 hours. Place bags of ice in the refrigerator and freezer, or in an additional cooler. DO NOT OPEN refrigerator or freezer doors while the power is out. 
  • Food: Throw away any food that was exposed to temperatures above 40°F for two hours or more, or anything that has an unusual odor, color, or texture. 
  • Medications: If the power is out for more than a day, discard any medication that requires refrigeration, unless the label says otherwise. 
  • Heating: Never use a gas or propane stove or oven to heat your home.

Communications

Since phone towers within the circuit area are affected during a PSPS, cell phones, many landlines, and the internet may be inoperable. Residents should ensure that cell phones are constantly charged, and you may consider having external batteries and battery chargers on hand.

Whenever a PSPS is implemented, the City Hall phone line (310-456-2489) will be staffed 24 hours/day.

Monitor news, weather, traffic and emergency information by listening to KBUU 99.1 FM and KNX AM-1070 on a battery-powered, solar, hand-crank, or car radio. KBUU has emergency power and will be on the air with updates during power outages every 10 minutes. 

Medical Needs

Individuals who are medically dependent on electricity should consider proactively staying in another area until conditions change and power is restored. Residents are encouraged to check on family members and neighbors who may need assistance.

If you or someone in your household requires power for medical equipment, contact SCE at 800-447-6620 to add that information to your account and register for the Medical Baseline program that provides an additional 16.5 kWh per day to your normal baseline electricity allocation.

Talk to your doctor to find out how long medications can be stored at higher temperatures, and get specific guidance for any critical medications.

Public Safety Access

During a PSPS or any power outage, electronic gates and garage door openers may not work. Gates should be left open and garage door openers set to manual operation to ensure you can get in and out of your property, and fire, paramedics or police can get to you when needed. 

Before the power goes out, residents should make sure they know how to manually open their garage doors  Doors may be heavy - ask a family member or neighbor for assistance if you cannot safely open your garage door.

To Manually Open a Garage Door

  • Make sure garage door is closed
  • Locate and pull the release lever
  • Completely open the garage door
  • Prop the door open so it does not slam back down

See the step-by-step video instructions.  

additional Resources