Enhanced Powerline Safety Settings: A Tool to Keep You Safe
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).
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.
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 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.
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:
Outages that result from these enhanced safety settings are not Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS). PSPS outages are a last resort used to keep you safe. Customers will be notified before a PSPS takes place.
NOTE: If a powerline is on your property, we may need access to restore power. Please allow our technicians access to patrol. The sooner they can patrol, the sooner power will be restored.
How are we supporting customers during outages?
We are working hard to reduce the impact of losing power by:
Providing portable batteries, generator rebates and backup power transfer meters.
Notifying customers when an outage has occurred and when they can expect power to be restored.
Leveraging ground and air patrols for quicker restoration times.
Optimizing device sensitivity and other related settings to minimize the size and duration of outages.