Helping to further reduce wildfire risk

PG&E is evolving its wildfire prevention efforts for the safety of our customers and communities. This includes Enhanced Powerline Safety Settings (EPSS).

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How it works

  • EPSS are advanced safety settings.
  • These settings allow our powerlines to automatically turn off power within one-tenth of a second.
  • This can occur when there is a hazard, like a tree branch falling into a line.

An infographic depicting how power is turned off if an object strikes a powerline or a fault occurs. The text reads: To help prevent wildfires during this hot and dry season, we have adjusted the settings on some of our equipment to automatically turn off power more quickly if the system detects a problem.; When an object strikes the line or a fault occurs, the equipment will detect the change in current and shut off power within one-tenth of a second.; We check the lines for damage before safely restoring power. This process can take several hours, depending on terrain.; Patrols are done by helicopter, truck or on foot during daylight hours.

Increased safety

  • We began implementing EPSS in July 2021. This year, we will be enabling settings when conditions indicate an increased potential for wildfires.
  • Last year, we saw an 80% reduction in ignitions* on EPSS-enabled circuits in High Fire-Threat Districts (HFTDs), compared to the last three-year average.
    *CPUC-reportable ignitions, as of December 31, 2021.
  • That is why we are expanding the program to all line miles in high fire-risk areas and nearby locations.

What to expect

  • These more sensitive settings will be enabled when elevated wildfire risk is present. This is most likely from May to November.
  • This will help keep you safe, but may also result in unexpected power outages.
  • We do not expect these settings to impact customer bills.

Outage causes

  • Outage causes resulting from enabled safety settings can vary, from equipment failure to an animal or vegetation striking the line.
  • Crews may be able to determine the cause of an outage while patrolling the circuit. However, outage causes may be ruled as undetermined.
  • Undetermined causes could be the result of hazards, such as a tree branch or animal that struck the line. Sometimes these hazards are no longer present during patrols.

Customer support

We understand how disruptive it is for customers to lose power. That is why we are working hard to support our customers and communities and reduce the impact of outages. This includes:

Additional safety measures

These adjustments are just one of the safety enhancements we have put in place. Other efforts include:

Watch our video on Enhanced Powerline Safety Settings

Our commitment to your safety

Enhanced Powerline Safety Settings

Audio description and transcript are available for this video:

Access an audio descriptive version
Download a transcript (PDF, 109 KB)

Enhanced Powerline Safety Settings


Audio description and transcript are available for this video:

Access an audio descriptive version
Download a transcript (PDF, 109 KB)