Helping to further reduce wildfire risk


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To help protect customers and further reduce wildfire risk during the hot and dry season, we adjusted the sensitivity of our equipment to automatically turn off power faster if the system detects a problem. This is known as Enhanced Powerline Safety Settings (EPSS). These new settings have helped protect our customers from catastrophic wildfires in Tier 2 and Tier 3 High Fire-Threat District (HFTD) areas, which are at the greatest risk. Since being implemented in late July 2021, EPSS has proven effective at helping prevent potential wildfires. As of Oct. 20, when compared to the prior three-year average, we have seen a decrease of approximately 50% in reportable ignitions and approximately 80% in ignitions on EPSS circuits.

In some locations, these adjustments have resulted in more frequent outages as crews must patrol the circuit – and perform any necessary repairs – prior to restoring power. The length of the outage will vary depending on the time and location that it occurs, as well as the severity of the damage. However, since the program began in July, we have been adjusting the settings, which allows for only the area directly impacted by the fault to be impacted by the outage instead of the entire circuit. As a result, this often reduces the miles to patrol, number of customers without power and overall length of an outage.

Our ongoing efforts to improve should continue to reduce the size and length of future outages. These changes have proven effective at making outages shorter and smaller, while still helping protect our customers from catastrophic wildfires. Between late July and early November 2021, there was a 25% reduction in the average number of customers impacted and a 20% reduction in average outage length.

Given the recent rainfall, we have been restoring circuits back to their normal, pre-EPSS settings, which should result in fewer power outages. We will continue to monitor weather and fuel conditions to determine the proper settings. When high wildfire risk returns, the circuits may be adjusted to be more sensitive again. However, our ongoing efforts will continue to reduce the length, frequency and number of customers impacted by outages, without compromising safety.


Watch our video on enhanced powerline safety settings

Our commitment to your safety

Enhanced Powerline Safety Settings

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Enhanced Powerline Safety Settings

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Audio description and transcript are available for this video:

Access an audio descriptive version
Download a transcript (PDF, 90 KB)