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PG&E shut-offs prompt urgency for energy resilience

Securing a resilient energy supply is crucial to protect California businesses against a future of catastrophic disruptions to their operations.

When will the power go out next?

This question is driving Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) customers across California to build a resilience plan as part of their energy strategy.

Energy resilience became top of mind for many PG&E customers on October 7, when a four-day Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) event left hundreds of thousands of PG&E customers across California without power on short notice. It is estimated to have directly impacted more than two million people.

PG&E has implemented more PSPS events since then, each ranging in length and scope of impact. To put the enormity of these events into context, 2.5 million people – plus businesses – were left in the dark from October 26–28. This number is only slightly larger than cutting the power supply to every residential customer in Washington DC, Vermont and Alaska combined.

The reality of extreme weather and energy security

Planned or unplanned, a PSPS event can be catastrophic for businesses if they don’t have a backup source of energy to ensure a consistent supply. Loss of power is far from a minor inconvenience. It means disruptions to businesses, loss of inventory, and loss of revenue – and it can even endanger lives.

Dry and windy conditions will cause PG&E to continue to issue these PSPS events, as they express safety concerns over the possibility of downed wires from high winds – this poses a wildfire risk and could endanger lives and property. PG&E had previously warned that PSPS events could be up to 15 per year, each event lasting 3 to 5 days each.

This is a new reality that businesses face today. In a world where access to energy becomes less certain due to grid challenges, and where climate change impacts business, the way energy is produced, distributed, and used has to change – and it has to change fast. The increased intensity and frequency of climate-driven extreme weather means that businesses need a resilience strategy. They need to be prepared for outages that last for hours or days on short notice.

According to our research, while organizations see energy resilience as a top-four risk for their business, nearly 75% are underprepared for the growing threat of power supply interruption. The most advanced, sustainable businesses are the most prepared – they are ready to grow and innovate by having strategies in place that secure their energy supply and enable them to maximize competitive advantage.

Our team can help you navigate resilience challenges

Listen to our podcast to learn more about how these energy resilience challenges in California are impacting businesses – and how we can deliver effective solutions.

Is your business prepared for the next shutoff?

You cannot control when and where the next PSPS event will be. The $250 bill credit from PG&E as a result of the PSPS event on October 9 is unlikely to cover the loss of inventory and revenue you have endured.

Infrastructure changes are critical for customers in high fire threat zones. It’s time to take back control of your energy and be prepared for the next PSPS event. Protect your business against a future of power outages due to dry, windy weather in combination with a power grid that will continue to experience more issues. Lower your reliance on PG&E and take the crucial step of boosting your energy resilience by generating and storing your own supply.

We can help. The first step is securing a resilient supply of energy by installing a commercial backup generator so you can keep your business up and running. Your generator can be paired with a solar and battery storage solution to further reduce your reliance on grid energy from PG&E – generate clean energy on-site and use the stored energy to power your business during the next outage.

In addition, an evolving Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) encourages customers to add storage, with rates up to $1000/kWh for certain customers in 2020. Our team can help you navigate this incentive and increase your resilience by installing a solution that works best for your business.

Learn more about building resilience into your energy strategy by downloading our report.