Public Safety Power Shutoff Events

Get information about planned Public Safety Power Shutoffs and backup power options. 

Your local energy company may need to turn off power during extreme weather or wildfire conditions. This is called a Public Safety Power Shutoff, or PSPS.

If you plan on using an emergency generator to power your home or business during a PSPS event, here are some tips for staying safe and compliant with state rules and requirements administered by the Air District.

If you anticipate needing an emergency generator, please refer to the following information and SUBMIT YOUR PERMIT APPLICATION AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Do not wait until fire season has begun and the power is expected to be turned off to apply for a permit.

Your permit will allow a two-year period for you to install your emergency generator. Even if you are not ready to install your generator, you can obtain your permit well in advance. DO NOT WAIT TO APPLY.

Emergency Generators For Residents

What options do you have to power your home in the event of a PSPS event?

  • Battery backup systems and solar generators are the cleanest, safest options. They are also exempt from requiring an Air District permit.
  • Other options include diesel, gasoline, natural gas, and propane fired backup generators.
  • Regardless of the type of backup power you use, we recommend powering a HEPA air purifier to provide a clean room for your family.

Considering a fuel-powered generator for power? Take note of the following precautions:

  • Diesel exhaust contains toxic air contaminants and has been linked to cancer and other adverse health effects. Please consider the effects of exhaust on your family, neighbors, and pets before installing.
  • Never use a fuel-powered generator inside your home. Good ventilation is required due to the harmful pollutants produced.

Backup generators may require an Air District permit. How do I get a permit quickly?

  • Purchase a generator less than 50 brake horsepower (bhp) in size. They produce fewer emissions and do not require a permit. A 15 to 25 bhp sized generator can power most large household appliances (e.g. refrigerator, washer, dryer, etc.).
  • Skip the process altogether and use a battery backup system or a solar generator.
  • Visit our Engine Permits page for more helpful tips.

Emergency Generators For Businesses

If you need an emergency generator, you may be subject to Air District permit requirements. Consider the following:

  • Battery backup systems and solar generators do not require Air District permits.
  • Engines less than 50 brake horsepower (bhp) do not require Air District permits.
  • Engines fired on gasoline, propane, or natural gas are easier and less expensive to permit.
  • Tier 4 diesel engines less than 225 bhp are also easier and less expensive to permit.
  • Engines registered under CARB’s Statewide Portable Equipment Registration Program (PERP) can be used for up to 12 months without a permit from the Air District.

All fuel-fired generators produce toxic air contaminants which have been linked to lung cancer and other adverse health effects.

  • Battery and solar are the cleanest and safest options.
  • Gasoline, natural gas, and propane fired generators are cleaner emitting than diesel, and result in less adverse health effects.
  • Be a good neighbor. Consider effects of noise and exhaust on others.

What are the permit requirements for backup generators?

  • An Air District permit is required for an emergency generator 50 brake horsepower and greater.
  • A permitted emergency generator may only be used during an emergency and for specified periods of maintenance and testing. A PSPS event is considered an emergency.
  • For an emergency generator located within 1,000 feet of any school, additional fees and restrictions apply.
  • Permits for generators must be renewed on an annual basis. Renewal fees will be collected annually for the lifetime of the generator.

Still considering an emergency generator? APPLY EARLY! Submit a COMPLETE application to expedite the permitting process. See the Air District's Engine Permits web page for instructions on submitting a permit application.

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Last Updated: 2019/12/18