Helping to further reduce wildfire risk


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To help protect customers and further reduce wildfire risk during this historically hot and dry season, we have 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 are already helping 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, PG&E has seen a 50% decrease in ignitions that could have resulted in catastrophic wildfires compared to the prior three-year average, and a 90% decrease in the rate of outages leading to ignition 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 July and October 2021, there was a 43% reduction in the average number of customers impacted and a 25% reduction in average outage length.

We are working hard to continue to reduce the impact of these outages, while keeping our customers and communities safe. We will turn these adjusted settings off at the end of wildfire season once rainfall increases.


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)