Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS)
During wildfire seasons, PG&E may turn off electricity in designated areas to lessen the threat of fires starting from power lines. These precautions are called Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS). See PG&E’s website for more information about the conditions that may prompt a PSPS, specific areas that may be affected and information about what you can do to prepare your home and family.
BART has been working with PG&E over the past several months to prepare for a potential PSPS. A PSPS in our region is not anticipated to impact train service because BART has flexibility to pull power from other sections of our traction power supply system to replace power turned off in a PSPS, ensuring continuous train operations. Critical systems such as tunnel fans are also protected by a combination of installed and portable generators. Additionally, all BART stations have emergency back-up lighting systems.
Information provided by PG&E indicates the most likely impact of a PSPS to BART would be to "house power" at Rockridge, Orinda, Lafayette, Castro Valley, West Dublin/Pleasanton and Dublin/Pleasanton stations. House power refers to the electricity necessary to operate elevators, escalators, ticket vending machines and fare gates. BART has placed portable generators at these stations to supply house power during a PSPS.
Escalators at stations with portable generators may be out of service during a PSPS. Elevators should be operational.
PG&E's stated goal is to provide advance notifications to BART and other customers in three phases:
- 48 hours before electricity is turned off
- 24 hours before electricity is turned off
- Shutoff notification just before electricity is turned off
Given PG&E's commitment to provide notice prior to any PSPS disruption, BART expects no disruption to train service because of the enhanced power redundancies we have put in place across BART's system.
BART was put to the test in October 2019 when extensive preparation allowed us to keep our electric trains and electrical functions of stations running with minimal impact to BART riders. The lessons learned are informing our operations as we anticipate future Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) by PG&E. Read on to find out how BART put measures in place to keep critical systems up and running in an unprecedented -- but likely to reoccur -- situation that challenged the entire Bay Area: https://www.bart.gov/news/articles/2019/news20191018-0
A portable generator sits outside Rockridge Station