Key Safety Improvements
PG&E has made significant safety improvements and is continuing to invest in infrastructure and technology to mitigate the risk of wildfire in its service territory:
- In 2019, completed enhanced and accelerated inspections of more than 700,000 transmission, distribution and substation assets of its electric infrastructure in high fire-threat areas
- Repaired or made safe all of the highest-priority conditions found during inspections of its transmission, distribution and substation assets
Improving situational awareness
- Weather stations – 630 deployed as of 3/5/2020, another 400 by 9/1/2020
- Cameras – 146 high-definition cameras deployed, another 200 by the end of 2020
- Satellite data –NOAA satellite data being added into PG&E’s detection and alert system
- Wildfire Safety Operations Center – upgraded center operates 24/7 to monitor fire threats
Hardening electric system and improving readiness
- 171 line miles hardened in 2019; targeting 241 line miles in 2020
- Undergrounding – selected, strategic undergrounding of distribution where key lengths of line serving isolated communities pass through high fire risk areas
- Sectionalization – installed 298 sectionalizing devices in 2019; targeting 592 in 2020.
- System automation – continue to enable Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) devices and reclosers to prevent reenergization after a fault; testing Rapid Earth Fault Current Limiter (REFCL) technology to automatically reclose electrical current in a downed wire
Conducting enhanced vegetation management (EVM)
- 2,498 line miles cleared using enhanced procedures to meet important State standards on clearances; targeting 1,800 distribution line miles in 2020 (400 completed)
- Transmission-level inspection and VM on 5,500 line-miles in high fire threat districts (HFTDs) every year, plus other areas as needed; Distribution-level VM every year for minimum 4’ radial clearance.
- Right-of-way expansion, particularly for 60-70 kV transmission lines, should remove more lines from PSPS risk and improve aerial inspection ability for PSPS service restoration.
- Distribution EVM occurring over next 10 year: removal of dead and diseased trees and more aggressive trimming (12’ radius at time of trim plus overhanging branches) as feasible.
Reducing Impact of PSPS
- Reducing scope / duration / frequency – targeting to have any 2020 PSPS events affect ~⅓ fewer customers than a comparable event would have in 2019
- Improving restoration – additional helicopters; fixed-wing aircraft with infrared technology to allow for nighttime inspections; improving restoration goal by 50%, to 12 daylight hours
- Community Resource Centers – activated 111 safe, energized locations for customers to receive basic resources and information in 2019; targeting 171 sites in 2020
- Microgrids / Distributed Generation (DG) – at peak level, safely deployed approximately 41MW of backup power support to 26 critical sites across 12 counties, and safely sectionalized and energized over 4,800 customers using temporary distributed generation microgrids during 2019 PSPS events; for 2020 PSPS events, making ready dozens of substations to use temporary or existing local generation as needed during 2020 PSPS events to keep these areas energized even when the transmission sources to the substations have to be shut down. PG&E is also moving quickly to reserve additional mobile generators for use in the 2020 fire season for these substations, for other temporary microgrids, and as back-up generation for customers that are critical for societal continuity