PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Public Utility Commission has approved temporary rules for the upcoming 2021 wildfire season including controlled blackouts, otherwise referred to as “public safety power shutoffs.”
The rules approved this week cover the use of shutoffs, as well as utility reporting requirements, KATU-TV reported.
While common measure in California during fire season, the use of power shutoffs is relatively new in Oregon.
One of the first known in the state was in September 2020 when thousands of residents near Mt. Hood had their power cut by Portland General Electric. Officials said fire risk became high with hot and windy conditions and that branches and debris coming into contact with power lines could spark a blaze.
The Public Utility Commission said the power shutoff measure will be a last resort, but one that could be used until “more expansive permanent rules are further developed.”
The temporary rules for wildfire season will be in effect through mid-November. They establish rules for how utility companies communicate and coordinate a shutoff and require that notifications are issued before, during and after a potential outage.