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Power Outages

If the campus loses power, it’s likely the result of something out of our control

PG&E has already conducted public safety power shutoffs in rural areas outside of Davis during high fire-hazard periods. Fortunately, the Davis campus is in a low fire-hazard area, and outside the area affected by current and past power shutoff advisories. However, the interconnectedness of California’s electrical grid means we could still lose power if a fire in southern California significantly impacts transmission lines serving the southern part of CA.

Planning for Three Potential Scenarios:

  1. No impact
    We haven’t had a power outage across campus since Valentine's Day 2008, following a barge accident on the Sacramento River, but PG&E has already cut off power to some areas nearby.
  2. Full power shutoff w/ lead time
    We monitor weather patterns and work closely with PG&E. Whenever a fire ignites in CA or extreme weather is forecast, Utilities contacts PG&E to understand potential impacts to UC Davis’ power supply and then communicates with the campus community.
  3. Full shutoff w/ no warning
    See If the Power Goes Out below

If the Power Goes Out

The campus will use the WarnMe system for initial notices and updates. It’s important to note that the campus has very few buildings fully backed up by a generator. While some buildings like Chemistry have a back-up generator, it only powers emergency exit lighting.

  • Buildings & Equipment w/ Generator Back-up
  • The generators supporting these buildings are designed to kick-on instantaneously. The campus generator team is focused on ensuring the generators are fueled and operating around-the-clock. Generators are used to provide back-up power to critical equipment (i.e., not offices or administrative spaces). 


    Talk with a building colleague, safety officer or building manager about what equipment is powered during an outage. They are often very familiar with the critical equipment that receives back-up power. Email Facilities Management at with questions. 

    Keep doors closed to temperature-controlled areas (e.g., sub-80 freezers)

    Reduce electricity however possible. These energy-conserving sustainability tips are important to implement all year long, but especially when the building is being powered by diesel generators. Don't forget your Vampire Loads!

  • Buildings w/o Generator Back-up
  • Only a small number of buildings will have back-up power during an outage. Understand that the electricity could be out for 30 minutes, or for much longer periods of time. 

    Anyone caring for animals, conducting sensitive research or operating specialized equipment should make plans to ensure their safety and security in the event of a power outage.

    If your building loses power:

    Await a WarnMe message with information and guidance.

    Enact your business continuity plan, which may require designating some employees as essential and offering alternative work arrangements to others.

    Don’t open temperature-controlled spaces (e.g., refrigerators, freezers)

Please Note: it will likely take the UC Davis Utilities crew 30 minutes to restore electricity to the campus after an outage. During that time some systems may be out or not working optimally: cellular phones, traffic signals, etc. First responders and emergency managers will enact plans to protect human and animal safety