Safety, resiliency and clean-energy investments

To protect and meet the energy needs of each of its 16 million customers, and enhance the energy systems they depend on every day, PG&E is proposing a series of crucial safety, resiliency, and clean-energy investments in its 2023 General Rate Case (GRC). We’re proposing these investments because providing safe, reliable, and affordable energy to our customers and hometowns is our most important responsibility.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) requires energy companies, like PG&E, to file a GRC for the CPUC to review as it determines future customer rates. Previously, PG&E’s GRC was filed every three years and did not include natural gas transmission and storage (GT&S). Beginning in 2023, this review is on a four-year cycle and includes all costs associated with gas operations, electric distribution, and generation operations in one proceeding.

PG&E’s GRC proposal includes new investments from 2023-2026 to help keep customers safe and reduce the impacts of extreme weather and the threat of catastrophic wildfires. Wildfire safety investments include:

Wildfire safety

  • Building upon proven layers of protection that work together to reduce wildfire ignition risk and strengthen PG&E’s electric grid. These layers of protection include system hardening with stronger poles and covered powerlines; the company’s 10,000-mile undergrounding program; tree trimming and removal; inspections and repairs; and improved situational awareness. When wildfire risk is elevated, these efforts are bolstered with operational mitigations that include Enhanced Powerline Safety Settings (EPSS), and Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) under extreme conditions.
  • Introducing new technology solutions such as partial voltage detection and downed conductor technology that build upon the operational mitigations of EPSS and PSPS. These new technologies detect potential threats to the electric grid and rapidly reduce or shut off power to help prevent wildfire ignitions.
  • PG&E reached a settlement agreement for 100% wildfire liability self-insurance, which ensures we have the required wildfire insurance coverage and provides a significant potential cost savings for customers.

Additionally, PG&E’s GRC request includes significant investments to improve gas and electric system safety, reliability and resiliency; increase the use of new, innovative technologies; and expand the state’s clean energy infrastructure. Critical energy investments include:

Gas system safety and reliability

  • Replacing 222.5 miles of distribution main pipeline in 2023 increasing to 245 miles in 2026;
  • Increasing the number of miles of gas transmission pipeline that can be inspected by state-of-the-art tools that run inside the pipeline to more than 69% of the system by the end of 2036;
  • Strength testing or replacing approximately 174 miles of gas transmission pipe in the rate case period to reconfirm maximum allowable operating pressures and to assess integrity;
  • Employing advanced mobile leak detection and quantification technology to quickly find and fix gas leaks to improve safety and reduce methane emissions;
  • Treating all gas odor calls as “Immediate Response” calls;
  • Continue to reduce the rate of third-party dig-ins around PG&E underground electric and gas facilities through the Damage Prevention Program that supports safe third-party excavation by identifying the presence of underground facilities;
  • Enhancing safety by installing secondary overpressure protection devices, such as slam shuts, at gas distribution and gas transmission pilot-operated regulator stations.

Electric system safety and reliability

  • Replacing a greater number of wood poles and infrastructure identified through PG&E’s Enhanced Inspection Program;
  • Adding additional distribution protection device zones that reduce or mitigate the duration and number of customers impacted by electrical outages;
  • Improving critical systems and communications networks to manage the growing number of devices on a more dynamic electric grid and protect it from cybersecurity threats;
  • Enabling behind-the-meter distributed generation resources to better serve customer needs; and
  • Replacing transformers in high-rise buildings with dry type units to minimize fire risk.

Clean energy

  • Investing in electric distribution capacity upgrades to support customer at-home electric vehicle charging demand;
  • Investing in more electric vehicle charging infrastructure at PG&E locations across its service area and adding over 1,000 electric vehicles to PG&E’s fleet by 2026;
  • Operating and maintaining PG&E’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure;
  • Operating the Elkhorn Battery Energy Storage System, a 183-megawatt storage system at the Moss Landing Substation in Monterey County;
  • Uprating the three units at Helms Pumped Storage Facility to increase the amount of clean, hydroelectric power that PG&E can provide customers during peak periods, and help integrate additional intermittent renewable resources;
  • Investing in projects to mitigate the risk of uncontrolled water release from its hydroelectric dams.

As with any customer rates proposal by PG&E, investments and expenditures are subject to open and transparent public review and approval by the CPUC. The CPUC thoroughly reviews PG&E’s rates proposals, including holding public hearings throughout the service area.

As part of this public process, PG&E strongly encourages its customers to provide feedback and participate in public hearings to help determine the energy priorities and investments that will define California’s energy future.

This four-year proposal does not include electric transmission costs, state-mandated Public Purpose Programs to support low-income customers and energy efficiency, or the actual commodity cost of gas and electricity. These costs are proposed through separate rate cases.

June 30, 2021 GRC Filing (Application)

February 25, 2022 Supplemental Testimony

March 10, 2022 Amended GRC Application

September 6,2022 Program and Forecast Updates

December 9, 2022 Reply Brief

December 15, 2022 Reply Brief on Depreciation