BART expects no disruptions if PG&E shuts off power to prevent wildfires


BART expects no disruptions if PG&E shuts off power to prevent wildfires

During the 2019 wildfire season, 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.

Read our story about the efforts BART took to keep the trains moving and power on in early October.


A portable generator sits outside Rockridge Station

A portable generator sits outside Rockridge Station 

*This article was originally posted on August 30, 2019. The date of the article was changed Oct 8 to move the article to the top of the news section.