Urgent Alert

System hardening and undergrounding

Building the electric system for the future

Modernizing the electric system

 

We are upgrading our electric system by installing stronger poles and covered powerlines. We are also burying 10,000 miles of powerlines in the highest wildfire risk areas. This system hardening work will help reduce wildfire risk and improve reliability during severe weather.

 

 

Benefits of system hardening 

  • Safer system
  • Reduced wildfire risk
  • Improved reliability
  • Fewer safety power outages

System hardening fact sheet (PDF)

View system hardening projects completed in your community

 

To keep our customers across high fire-risk areas safer, we also:

 

Learn more about our wildfire safety work at pge.com/wildfiresafety.

 

 

Prioritizing the highest fire-risk areas

Over one-third of our overhead primary powerlines are in high fire-risk areas. We focus our work in areas with the highest risk of wildfire so we can have the greatest impact on reducing risk. 

System hardening is how we describe upgrading electric equipment to be stronger in severe weather and reduce wildfire risk.

 

Based on wildfire risk, location, terrain and other factors, this work may include one or more of the following:

  • Undergrounding powerlines in high fire-risk areas
  • Replacing bare powerlines with covered powerlines
  • Installing stronger poles
  • Installing more poles to support the weight of covered powerlines
  • Removing overhead lines when possible, such as when a remote grid has been installed

 

What to expect

We appreciate your partnership as we work to upgrade our electric system and want you to be informed at every step in the process.

 

If a project is planned in your community:

  • Trees or shrubs may need to be cut down or trimmed to safely complete work or make room for new equipment.
  • Customers in or near the work area will receive notification prior to work beginning.
  • PG&E and contractor crews will always carry identification.
  • Crew vehicles and large construction equipment may be in your neighborhood. Traffic control and noise reducing measures will be in place.
  • It may be necessary to shut off power to safely complete work. Customers will receive advance notice.
  • You may experience road closures, traffic delays or construction noise. Cranes and/or helicopters may also be required to complete projects.
  • Because we are focused on removing the higher-risk primary distribution lines, customers will continue to see other equipment overhead. This includes poles, telecommunication lines or powerlines connecting to individual homes or businesses.

We plan to underground 10,000 miles of powerlines in the highest fire-risk areas

 

Undergrounding involves moving powerlines below ground. This nearly eliminates ignition risk at that location.

 

Undergrounding makes our system safer, stronger and more affordable in the long run:

  • Helps prevent wildfires caused by powerlines or equipment
  • Reduces power outages and improves reliability
  • Decreases the need for future tree work
  • Protects the environment


See our undergrounding work in action

Undergrounding fact sheet (PDF)


Undergrounding the highest-risk lines

We are moving powerlines that have the highest ignition risk underground. Customers will continue to see other equipment overhead. In most cases, this includes telecommunication lines or powerlines connecting to individual homes or businesses.

 

See our progress

Data as of 01/30/2024

 

In 2023, we exceeded our goal of completing 350 miles of undergrounding by the end of the year. As of the end of 2023, we have now completed over 600 miles of undergrounding since the announcement of our 10,000-mile undergrounding program in 2021.

 

To accomplish this, it took more than 2,000 highly skilled, fully dedicated coworkers working every day to move powerlines underground across our service area.

 

In 2024, we plan to move an additional 250 miles of powerlines underground. We have already made significant progress toward our annual goal.

 

Undergrounding power lines progress thermometer

Frequently asked questions

We are prioritizing work in the highest fire-risk areas. Below is a list of counties with projects forecast in 2024 and 2025-2026. Miles reflect projects that are in any stage of the planning process. Forecast miles exceed our annual mileage targets to ensure we meet our goals. Mileage in your community may change due to a variety of factors. Projects that are not completed in the year indicated may be completed in a future year.

 

You can click the links below to view maps of approximate locations of projects forecast in 2024 and 2025-2026. You can also choose to download all undergrounding maps (PDF).

 

important notice icon Note: The CPUC decided in June 2023 to end the Rule 20A program by December 31, 2033. Rules 20B and 20C are not affected by this decision.

Separate from our wildfire safety work, PG&E also moves electric facilities underground through Rule 20. This work is requested by:

  • Cities
  • Counties
  • Municipalities
  • Developers
  • Customers

Work is completed by following the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Rule 20 electric distribution tariff guideline.

 

Rule 20 has three sections (A, B and C). The use of a particular Rule 20 section is determined by the type of project and who pays for the work. Rule 20 projects typically involve undergrounding all above ground utilities and poles.

 

For more information on Rule 20, please refer to the Electric Rule 20 Guidebook (PDF).

 

View the current Rule 20 Annual Report (XLSX) (per Ordering Paragraph 14 of D.21-06-013).

If you are a vendor interested in being added to our list, email undergrounding@pge.com.

Services of interest may include, but are not limited to:

  • Electric construction services
  • Civil construction services
  • Engineering services
  • Engineering, procurement and construction services
  • Other relevant support services
  • Electric materials

More on outages and safety

Outage preparedness and support

Stay prepared for power outages and get support.

Community Wildfire Safety Program (CWSP)

Find out how PG&E is making our system safer and more reliable.

Contact us

If you are a vendor interested in being added to our list, email undergrounding@pge.com.