NV Energy’s Public Safety Outage Management (PSOM) program is a key measure of defense against wildfires. During a PSOM event, NV Energy will shut off power in extreme and elevated fire risk areas to help prevent power lines, things that are blown into power lines, and other equipment from causing a wildfire. Since 2019, the company has implemented the program in extreme fire risk areas of Nevada, including Lake Tahoe and Mt. Charleston. Wildfires continue to present an ever-increasing threat to Nevada and its residents. To help ensure public safety, NV Energy will expand the use of PSOM to additional areas of its service territory with elevated fire risk.
The new PSOM zones include portions of Humboldt County, Lyon County, Storey County, Elko County, Washoe County and Carson City. The company has worked minimize the number of customers impacted by developing plans to reroute power, when possible, during a PSOM event.
When a PSOM event is activated, NV Energy will shut off power in one or more of its extreme and elevated fire-risk zones when certain environmental conditions are met and an evaluation of risk is done with guidance from local emergency management teams and other stakeholders. These conditions include weather, vegetation levels that can be used as fuel for a fire, field observations, and feedback from local fire departments and other first responders.
“As part of our commitment to public safety, we sought and received approval from the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada to expand our Public Safety Outage Management program,” said Jesse Murray, Vice President of Gas Delivery and Natural Disaster Protection. “We understand that a PSOM event is never convenient, and it is our goal to reduce the need for these outages through our ongoing and future investments to make our grid more resilient.”
NV Energy has implemented a number of initiatives to strengthen its electric grid in order to help protect customers from the threat of wildfires and other natural disasters. These include inspecting more than 40,000 wooden poles in our high fire risk areas and making any needed repairs; partnering with local fire departments to remove grass, brush and other vegetation from underneath our powerlines; installing wildfire alert cameras and weather stations to improve situational awareness and evaluating new tools and technology to help further strengthen equipment.
While NV Energy’s grid hardening efforts are long-term strategies to help reduce the impacts of climate change, PSOM is something that can be done immediately in response to environmental conditions to help prevent wildfires and protect the community.
NV Energy will contact impacted customers directly at least 48 hours in advance, if possible, of any PSOM event and provide ongoing updates through a variety of channels including news media, social media and nvenergy.com. The company will provide a Customer Resource Center, when possible, during a PSOM event to enhance our ability support our customers and to provide important information.
Top photo caption and credit: NV Energy workers clear vegetation from around power lines in wooded parts of Nevada like the Lake Tahoe Basin – photo: NV Energy