Public Safety Power Shutoff

The practice of preemptively taking power lines out of service to mitigate wildfire, commonly known as a Public Safety Power Shutoff, is taking hold in the Northwest. 

In recent years, wildfires have emerged as a growing public safety concern throughout the West. Although wildfires have many causes, from lightning to an unattended campfire spark, electric utilities – and UEC – are continuing to do their part to help keep our communities safe.

What can I do to prepare?

  • Have a personal safety plan in place for every member of your household (including pets). Ready.gov has a great template to get your family started.
  • Plan for any medical needs like medications that need to be refrigerated or devices that require power.
  • Build or restock your emergency supply kit, including food, water, flashlights, a radio, fresh batteries, first aid supplies and cash.
  • Identify backup charging methods for phones.
  • Ensure it’s possible to manually open your garage door should the electric motor be unavailable.
  • If you own a backup generator, ensure it is ready to safely operate.

When would a Public Safety Power Shutoff Occur?

Every situation is unique. Some areas UEC serves are at an increased risk of wildfires. As a last resort safety precaution, electricity could be turned off in high risk areas during extreme weather events for public safety in an effort to prevent a fast-moving, hard to fight wildfire. UEC monitors local fire danger conditions across our diverse service territory and takes into consideration a combination of weather and environmental factors. These may include, but are not limited to:

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High Winds
Gusts or prolonged conditions

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Low Humidity
Drought Conditions

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High Temperatures
Expected or Predicted

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Red Flag Warning
From The National Weather Service

How would members be notified?

  • Early Warning Notifications – UEC will notify members as soon as possible through phone, email, social media and local media (newspapers, radio, etc.).
  • Ongoing Updates – Updates and any relevant information will be provided through UEC’s social media, local news outlets and website.
  • Safety Inspections & Power Restoration – After extreme weather has passed, UEC crews will inspect lines in affected areas before power is safely restored.

While UEC will provide as much advance warning as possible, rapidly changing conditions may require that we operate within a short timeframe. We are committed to providing information in the timeliest manner possible.

What if I’m dependent on electricity for a medical device?

During a Public Safety Power Shutoff, ALL customers serviced by the affected power line will have their power shut off. 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:
  • Make sure UEC is aware of your medical device
  • Establish multiple people you can contact for help who know how to operate your equipment and backup systems
  • Keep emergency contact information handy
  • Consider a safe backup power source, such as a generator or uninterruptible power supply

Keep your contact information up-to-date.

Keeping your information current makes it easier for UEC to contact you when it’s necessary. To update your informations use the Update Contact Information form below, login in to your SmartHub account and go to Settings or call us at (541) 567-6414.

Contact Information Update

Update your UEC member contact information using the form below.
  • Use the fields below to update the contact information for your account. If you have questions or would like to speak to a Customer Service Representative, call us at (541) 567-6414. If you need to update your service address, please see the Change of Address Form under Payment & Billing: https://www.umatillaelectric.com/accounts/payment-and-billing/change-of-address/
  • SmartHub Users: login to your SmartHub account and go to Settings: Change Sign In Email to update your email address.
  • By selecting one or more of these options, a UEC representative will contact you to complete these changes.

Additional Preparedness Resources

  • oregonrsg.org – Oregon Ready, Set, Go! Risk Assessment Information
  • ready.gov – Disaster preparedness information from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • readyforwildfire.org – CAL FIRE’s wildfire preparedness website
  • noaa.gov – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website