Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) committed to making Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events smarter for their customers, and the work to support their local communities earlier this month was a critical part of that commitment.

Earlier this year PG&E expanded partnerships with food banks and the Meals on Wheels program serving communities throughout the service area. PG&E’s funding helps the nonprofits provide critical food support to individuals who experience food loss and senior community members during natural disasters and PSPS events.

“I wanted to express how PG&E did everything right in a short amount of time with this recent PSPS event,” said a representative from Area Agency on Aging, Area 12 in Sonora.

A team of PG&E employees devoted the past year to ensuring local partnerships were in place and ready to execute in support of a potential PSPS activation. This dedication was put into action resulting in critical support for PG&E communities reliant on power for medical and independent living needs and/or experiencing hardship during the first PSPS event of 2020.

As part of the enhanced partnership, PG&E and Portable Electric deployed a VOLTstack 20K e-Generator to the Food Bank of Nevada County in Grass Valley during the PSPS event. The battery trailer powered their refrigeration, lighting and communication devices. The food bank was able to process and deliver 1,153 boxes of food during the week, which would have been lost without the battery. 100 additional batteries will be delivered to food banks, school cafeterias and customers with higher energy needs by the end of the year.

“We appreciate the support of PG&E during the recent PSPS event. Everyone we worked with at PG&E showed genuine concern for our community and helped us problem-solve so we could continue to serve the individuals and families who rely on us. We can’t say it enough, thank you,” said Food Bank of Nevada County Executive Director Nicole McNeely.

During the recent PSPS event, the partnerships were carried out for the first time, providing an impressive level of support for customers in need throughout PG&E’s service area. Local food banks distributed 8,749 food boxes in 11 counties. The Meals on Wheels program made additional food deliveries to 250 seniors in Nevada County as well as extra wellness visits.

“We are so glad for PG&E’s assistance in this effort,” said Community Action Agency of Butte County Executive Director Thomas Tenorio.
PG&E continues to finalize new partnership agreements in various communities. To date, PG&E has executed partnerships with seven food banks and 14 Meals on Wheels programs. PG&E expects to initiate another 11 food banks and seven Meals on Wheels partnerships before the end of the year.

“PSPS event impacts are compounded for those already experiencing hardship. These partnerships provide an immediate solution to food replacement needs as a result of shutting off the power for safety. I am proud to work for a company focused on doing more to provide tangible resources for the communities we serve and the tireless efforts of our employees who assisted in the realization of so many partnerships in a short amount of time,” said PG&E PSPS Engagement, Strategy and Planning Manager Vanessa Bryan.

PG&E’s commitment to making PSPS events smarter for customers is making a tangible difference in the lives of customers, and the ongoing efforts of employees throughout the company continue to be recognized by community partners.

“Thank you again for helping me along with this process and in a short amount of time. It helped a lot of people”, said the El Dorado Food Bank Executive Director Mike Sproull.

The original version of this article was posted on pgecurrents.com.