I want to establish an temporary RV at a property that did not burn. What do I need to know about electrical connections?
- Connection to the power grid is required.
- A 15 or 20 amp connection with a 10 gauge cord, less than 100 feet from a weather proof power connection is acceptable TEMPORARILY. (These cords are 3/4 of an inch diameter.)
- A 30 amp connection is required for extended occupancy beyond 30 days in most locations. (Some municipalities accept generators or renewables like solar.)
- This link to our RV Electric Usage Guide will provide guidance calculating your power usage and explaining the difference between the 15 and 30 amp connections.
- We do not endorse the use of on-board RV generators due to noise, smell, and other nuisance issues.
My property has partial damage. What should I do when I visit my property?
When you are asked to evacuate always shut off your gas and electricity. (Some damage is preventable.)
- If you or someone else shut off the gas during the evacuation, DO NOT turn it back on. Contact PG&E to perform a safety inspection before the gas service is restored and the gas appliance pilots are re-lit. If you smell the distinctive “rotten egg” odor of natural gas you should EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY AND THEN CALL 9-1-1 and PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.
- If there are electrical wires on the ground STAY CLEAR. Treat them as if they are “live” or energized. Keep yourself and others away from them. Call 1-800-743-5000, then notify PG&E at 9-1-1.
- Use only battery-operated flashlights to provide light during outages. Standard wax candles are not recommended due to potential gas hazards.
- Customers with generators or solar panels should make sure they are properly installed by a licensed electrician. Improperly installed generators and solar panels pose a significant danger to PG&E crews, and to you and your family.
When you are allowed to return, please take these steps to protect your family and your home:
- Turn off the power at the main electric switch.
- Check for damage to the gas meter, gas lines or propane tank. DO NOT attempt to repair or turn on these services if it looks like any damage is likely. Call your local propane or utility company immediately.
- If there is NO VISIBLE DAMAGE to your utilities and you do not have a notice from PG&E on your front door, you may turn on the main circuit breaker.
- Before turning on your main switch, unplug or turn off all electric appliances to avoid overloading circuits and fire hazards when power is restored. Simply leave a single lamp on to alert you when power returns. Turn your appliances back on one at a time when conditions return to normal.
My gas from PG&E is not available. What do I do?
- This is the information to educate you on restoring gas service.
- Customers who are able to return home and do not have gas service should call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000 to schedule a re-light.
My property burned. How do I re-establish electrical service?
Restoring utilities on PARTIAL LOSS lots follows similar procedures as a TOTAL LOSS, but will probably require less work to restore.
Restoring utilities on TOTAL LOSS takes significant work, but getting them connected back to the grid increases the value of your property and the surrounding properties.
It is best to do this restoration as soon as possible because budgets may become tighter later and labor may be more expensive, making this task more difficult to do.
Furthermore, we have no idea how long re-connection fees will be waived for the permits or with PG&E final connect… but normally that process can cost several thousand dollars. And this discounted rate is NOT transferable to new property owners.
What are PG&E Service Specifications?
- PG&E FAQ for billing adjustments on affected properties. PG&E has placed a hold on bills for accounts that are in the fire zone or within a quarter mile of the fire zone. In addition, customers that are located outside the fire zone, but who do not have a SmartMeter may have their bills delayed due to lack of access or manpower to read the meter.
- Links for targeted business segments: Homeowners or
Business and Agriculture
- General PG&E wildfire restoration information
- Temporary Construction Power Pole Request Form (Note to PG&E I didn’t see a form this time. Does it still exist? I found this but I’m pretty sure that isn’t what you want to use. I also found this handy checklist for customer spec interface.)
- Power Pole Specs:
- Here is the diagram for the 125 amp pole in a diagram which cannot cross a road and is typical of residential installations. This is a picture of a 125 amp pole.
- Here is a diagram of a 200 amp pole or a pole that must cross a road and is typical for commercial installations. Most residential structures are 100 amps. Please note that if you are planning to host a FEMA trailer, the do not use gas of any kind. As a result they require a 200 amp power pole, which most properties do not have.
- Utility Box/Meter Specs: These specs are for a max of 200 amps.
- Educational material for all power issues you could encounter. The volume of info would make an average fire survivor implode with information overwhelm. Consume as needed, but don’t feel it’s necessary. Sections of special interest are
- Overhead Electric Service: Specifically requirements for customer owned poles. Here’s the 1 page flyer about New Service Overhead Power
- Underground Electric Service: Specifically requirements for grounding and trenching. Here’s the 1 page flyer about New Service Underground (This is known to be a more expensive and time consuming installation, but in the long run it can be safer than overhead lines. ) (Remember before digging call 811 Mon-Fri 6am-7pm!!!! (Gas goes BOOM!)
What is the Process to Re-Establish Service?
- File a temporary dwelling or construction permit with your city or county building department. (Required first step. DO NOT call PG&E until this process is started. The county will put placard somewhere on the property with a sticker indicating that you are cleared by them to begin installing service.)
- Submit an application for service restoration by visiting https://www.pge.com/cco or call 1-877-743-7782. (Indicate on the application that your restoration request is due to the Northern California fires. A service planning representative will be assigned to your address and you will be provided their contact info.)
- Hire an electrical contractor. Try this resource on Yelp or see the list below.
- Purchase electric supplies, such as your service pole (which requires specialized equipment to deliver and install)
- Arrange for your local government agency to inspect your electrical panel and they in turn will notify PG&E when it has passed inspection. Then your meter will be turned on.
I want to use BBQ style tanks to supply my RV with gas. Tell me more about this.
- Moving an RV for servicing is a huge hassle and can result in potential damage by driving a large vehicle that you may not have a lot of experience with. We recommend you plan to service the propane tanks without moving the RV.
- We recommend using a propane kit called “Extend-a-Stay.” This will allow you to swap propane tanks when they are empty without needing to move the RV.
- You can find locations to swap your propane tank at participating grocery stores, hardware stores, Walmart or U-Haul. Or you can have them refilled at participating gas stations and large propane distributors.
- No more than 2 spare tanks should be stored within 25’ of the RV.
- For RVs that use on-board tanks, the tanks must be DOT-approved or otherwise meet current state law.
I want to purchase electric supplies, like a service pole, hire an electrician or get propane. Who can I call?
This list is provided because we understand as a survivor, that searching for information when you are exhausted is frustrating. We hope this helps you.
Just like any other provider we list, we have no relation to them at all and this isn’t an endorsement. We wish to help make your search for solutions easier. Please check Yelp Reviews and other tools to make your contracting decision. AND ALWAYS as for proof of Workman’s Comp before authorizing any changes to your property.
- County of Mendocino (coming soon)
- County of Napa (coming soon)
- County of Sonoma
- County of Ventura (coming soon)
~*~ Updated Dec. 10, 2017 ~*~
Together we can help each other with valuable advice that needs to be shared to protect our homes and our foundation to thrive.
This information is being re-purposed from our experience responding to the Valley Fire of 2015 and this is a living, changing document. This website resource is only a guide. Your local building and economic development department has the final word on what we can or can’t do.
Please thank them for allowing this RV policy because not every disaster area gets this privilege. SERIOUSLY!!! ~ Bring them as much love as the fire department. They are your NEXT RESPONDERS! They care about your well being and are working very hard to help people that were displaced by the fire storms on October 8th.
Disclaimer: Everything related to RVs Without Borders and Tips From Survivors is being done by Good Samaritans. By using this site or its content or our ideas in any way, you agree to now and forever waive and release any claims whatsoever against the organizers, volunteers, and RV owners involved with this initiative, arising from any cause or event, or any action or non-action, real or imagined.