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BLOG > November 2019 > PSPS Events Deemed Emergencies by CARB

PSPS Events Deemed Emergencies by CARB

CARB defines PSPS voluntary power shutdown by PG&E as an emergency event. This allows generators to operate during the event an unlimited amount of time.

Who is CARB?

New Tier 4 CARB Compliant MTU Generator Engine
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) protects the public from the harmful effects of air pollution. They also develop
programs to fight climate change. CARB has pioneered a range of approaches that set the standards for the world. The Board is comprised of 16 board members, with 12 appointed by the governor who and confirmed by the state Senate.

CARB combines efforts with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the 35 local air pollution control districts. Their responsibilities are:
  • Set states air quality standards
  • Identify pollutants that pose the greatest health risks
  • Measure progress in reducing pollutants
  • Verify automakers emissions compliance
  • Research cause and effect of air pollution problems
  • Study costs and benefits of pollution controls
  • Lead efforts to reduce climate-changing emissions
Emergency and backup generators are powered by a diesel or Natural Gas (NG) fueled engine. When the generators operate, the engine exhaust emissions fall under more than one monitored and controlled category. 

Generator & Engine Ratings

The engine fuel system and alternator (generator end) are both rated. The manufacturer rates the alternator for the mode of operation. Standby, Prime and Continuous are three common alternator ratings. Generators that are used in a prime and continuous setting must have a Tier 4 fuel system to be EPA and CARB compliant. Tier 4 emission standards were phased in from 2008 to 2015. Current standards require Particulate Matter (PM) and Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) to be reduced by an additional 90%.

PG&E PSPS Program

Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) introduced a voluntary power shutdown program to reduce the possibilities of wildfires. They termed the outages Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS). The time between the power shutoff and the inspection can result in days or weeks with large areas of the grid without power. Both industry and homeowners are faced with providing an alternate source of power during these outages. Relaxed standards allow for more generator selection options. Generator Source has more than 38 years of generator experience. We are happy to help you determine the best-fit generator that will comply with state and local guidelines. Contact Us to get the ball rolling.

CARB Response to PSPS Program

Kohler 600 kW Generator Ready for Service
CARB recently deemed that when a PSPS power outage occurs, emergency and backup generators can be used during the extent of the event. Users must comply with all local operating regulations. For more information, go to Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) Events. This response places the PSPS program in the same category as hurricanes, floods, severe storms, and other natural disasters.

Now businesses and homeowners can operate emergency and backup generators for the duration of the power outage without the possibility of a state-issued citation. The move by CARB illustrates the point that voluntary power outages instituted by power companies is here to stay. As power companies are held accountable for their failing infrastructure, more programs such as PSPS are sure to emerge. 

Upgrade Existing or New Installation

Much of the industry and the residential sector have minimal or zero backup generator support. Buildings, such as hospitals, have critical power requirements. They are equipped with generators and Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) systems that ensure power 100% of the time. The remaining portion of the industry has emergency generators that will support systems such as egress lighting, securities, and elevators and are designed so everyone can make it out of the building. There is no power for production or other business activity.

Upgrade Existing Emergency Power

The first step is to determine the size of the generator needed. Calculate the amount of power (watts) is needed to power the circuits needed to conduct business. This figure will determine the approximate size of the generator needed. All generators are rated as emergency, prime, or continuous for hours of operations. Some have an emergency or standby rating with a chart on the identification tag that advertises load at the other two ratings. It is not advised to exceed manufacturer specifications because the warranty can be voided. Make sure to consult with a reputable business when determining the size and operating requirements. Generator paralleling panels and distribution equipment are part of the supporting systems that can be part of the upgrade.

New Installation

California business owners and the residential sector that did not have the need for a backup power system now require one. The first step is to calculate the power needed. Businesses follow the same steps outlined in upgrading existing for this. The average home uses approximately 10 kW of power. provides calculations for any building power usage. All new installations require an Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) or manual transfer switch to route the load from utility to generator supply. Buildings that are powering select circuits can install additional distribution pales for the selected circuits.

Pre-owned generators can offer large savings with the initial investment. Many of our generators have low hours, and all of them must pass a 31-point inspection prior to sales. Go to Inventory to view our in-stock selection. We can often arrange for shipping within 24-hours of purchase completion. 

Diesel Blog Team | 11/27/2019 2:33:53 PM | 0 comments
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