Planned Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) Events

For businesses and residents in Butte County, a matrix that highlights the requirements for diesel generators with a 50 brake horsepower rating (BHP) or greater is below:

Commercial Use Residential Use Form 40 Certified Engine Use*
Operable in Butte County Yes Yes Yes
Authority to Construct Yes No No
Permit to Operate Yes No No
Notification of Operation in Butte County No (after Permit has been issued) No No (only need to notify ARB)
ATCM Certified Engine Required Yes Yes Yes

*Form 40 engines may only operate in California without a Permit to Operate or PERP Registration for one year.

Non-diesel generators (gasoline, natural gas, propane, or LPG) rated at 250 BHP or less and operating less than 200 hours per calendar year for non-emergency uses (i.e. maintenance and testing, prime power) are exempt from permit requirements for businesses in Butte County. Residential use of any generator is exempt from any district permitting. For more information regarding non-diesel generators, contact the District.

To reduce risk of wildfires, PG&E is implementing their Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) program. When a PSPS event occurs, power can be shut off for days at a time. This can have a great impact on the community; for those looking to find out if using a backup generator is okay, the Butte County Air Quality Management District (District) has rules and regulations that apply to the use of backup generators in Butte County.

Residents of Butte County who use PG&E as their electricity provider may be considering purchasing or renting a backup generator. The District urges you to consider several factors before purchasing or renting a generator – cost, noise level, safety, and impacts to the air. Generators that use diesel fuel emit toxic air contaminants from the exhaust which are considered by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) as unhealthy to breathe. PG&E’s website has information to consider before using a backup generator. CARB’s website can also assist you in selecting the correct emergency backup power option.

Purchasing a backup generator may make you subject to District permit requirements and regulations.


Businesses in Butte County who plan on purchasing a backup generator please consider the following:

  • Backup generators permitted with the District may operate during PSPS events. Permits generally do not have limits on backup generator usage during emergency events, such as PSPS.
  • Business that plan on renting generators may use them temporarily if they are registered in CARB’s PERP program or have a local Permit to Operate with the District.
    • In special emergency cases, generators that are not registered in PERP may operate. Requirements for this type of operation can be found on CARB’s website


Residents of Butte County who plan on purchasing a backup generator please consider the following:

  • Backup generators for residential use are not required to have a Permit to Operate.
  • All generators operating in California must be an ATCM Certified Engine. According to ATCM for Stationary Compression Engines, a Certified Engine is defined as “a CI engine that is certified to meet the Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3, or Tier 4 Off-Road CI Certification Standards as specified in title 13, California Code of Regulations, section 2423.” More information can be found on CARB’s website.

Comments are closed.