Campus may be affected by PG&E power shutoff

To: UC Santa Cruz community

From: Public Affairs

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. announced earlier today that it plans to preemptively cut power to a large swath of Central and Northern California, including Santa Cruz County, to prevent power lines from sparking wildfires during dry and extremely windy weather in the forecast for later this week.

No final decisions have been made on outage areas, but it is possible our main campus, Coastal Science Campus, and Scotts Valley Center will be affected. Campus leaders have been monitoring the situation throughout the day, and our Office of Emergency Services has been in close communication with the Santa Cruz County Office of Emergency Services, which is working with PG&E officials on outage planning. 

While an exact time for any power shutoff is unknown, it could be as early as the wee hours of Wednesday. This is the first time PG&E has done a large-scale power shutdown — it is being referred to as a Public Safety Power Shutoff — and the utility is not saying how long power might be out, only that it could be up to five days before all users have power restored. 

If our main campus loses power, some parts of campus should remain online, powered by our cogeneration plant, while some buildings have backup generators in place to supply emergency lighting. Several buildings would be without power. Campus officials are currently working on various contingency plans depending on what unfolds. Please keep your eyes open for additional campus messages Tuesday with more outage news.

Outage planning

In the interim, PG&E has assembled some online resources that explain a Public Safety Power Shutoff, how best to prepare for one, and what areas might be affected.