Benicia Fire Chief Josh Chadwick – PGE / Valero prepared for power shut-offs

Questions on PG&E shut-offs prompt Benicia response

Vallejo Times-Herald, June 15, 2019

In response to question about PG&E’s public safety power shut-offs [PSPS’s] and their potential impact to the city of Benicia and the Valero Benicia Refinery, the Benicia Fire Department said Fire Chief Josh Chadwick has been working closely with the State Office of Emergency Services and PG& E to gather answers.

Here is what is known at this time:

• The power interruptions in Benicia on Monday and Tuesday were not related to a PG& E PSPS.

• PSPSs are designed to shut power off in either the Elevated or Extreme California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Fire-Threat Districts. There are no CPUC Extreme Fire- Threat Districts in Solano County. The only Elevated Fire-Threat Districts in Solano are in North Vacaville near Lake Berryessa and in the West area of Green Valley.

• Valero Refinery has two separate sources of power — one that comes in from the north and the other that comes in from the south. Their system is designed so that if one of the sources were to be shut off, the second source would be sufficient to keep the power to Valero uninterrupted.

• Per PG& E, PSPS are essentially based on upcoming weather events and should not come without warning.

• Unlike a sudden and unexpected power loss, with prior notice Valero has the ability to limit impacts through a controlled shut-down.

• Portable generators would not have the capacity to provide sufficient power to supply the refinery.

• There are numerous major commercial, industrial, and critical infrastructure facilities located throughout California which would be severely impacted by a loss of power. State OES personnel are currently working with the California Public Utilities Commission to address these facilities.

To learn more about Public Safety Power Shutoffs, visit the PG& E PSPs webpage.

Josh Chadwick, Benicia Fire Chief

For more information, contact Josh Chadwick, Fire Chief at or (707) 7464275.