To further reduce the threat of wildfires, we're performing accelerated safety inspections of electric infrastructure in high fire-threat areas. You may see PG&E crews, our contractors, helicopters or drones in your neighborhood if you live in those areas.
The work being done as part of our Community Wildfire Safety Program is in addition to the routine inspections and maintenance we regularly conduct. It's about doing even more to help further reduce wildfire risks and keep our customers and communities safe given the growing wildfire threat across the state.
We are conducting comprehensive inspections of electric towers, poles and substations in high fire-threat areas. Customers may see PG&E crews or contractors in their area performing these safety inspections, which include:
Additionally, helicopters might be needed, at times, to deliver PG&E or contractor crews and equipment to remote locations.
Inspections are ongoing, and we are working to complete all inspections of electric towers, poles and substations in high fire-threat areas. Helicopter inspections related to this program are underway now and will typically occur between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. We are doing this work in areas defined as at elevated (Tier 2) and extreme (Tier 3) risk of wildfire, based on the CPUC High Fire-Threat District map. We are taking action right away to address any immediate risk to public safety found during the inspections.
For more information please download the Wildfire Safety Inspection Program Fact Sheet (PDF, 66 KB).
We are conducting accelerated safety inspections of electric towers, poles and substations in areas identified by the CPUC as being at elevated or extreme fire threat throughout our service territory. This includes approximately 50,000 structures across more than 5,500 miles of transmission line, approximately 685,000 poles across more than 25,200 miles of distribution line and 200 substations, in high fire-threat areas, as designated by the CPUC High Fire-Threat District map.
PG&E’s regular maintenance and inspection program for its assets includes routine patrols, detailed inspections, testing, repairs and replacements – all designed to identify and address safety or reliability issues. Inspections are done every 2-5 years depending on the type of pole or tower, and more frequent inspections may be done in the event of an extreme weather event, natural disaster or other potential safety concern. These accelerated safety inspections are focused on further reducing wildfire risks, given the growing wildfire threat we are seeing across our state. We have enhanced the criteria we are using for inspections based on a risk-based approach to identify individual electric system components that can create a risk of potential wildfire ignition. As part of our enhanced inspections for transmission towers, we are also climbing towers and using drone technology to gather additional data and information.
The visual inspections (ground and/or climbing) will be performed by crews of up to four people and will take up to two hours per structure to complete. For aerial inspections done by drones, we anticipate flying the drone around the transmission tower or pole for approximately 30-45 minutes. Helicopter inspections generally take a few minutes per structure, but may involve hovering over an area for several minutes.
To the extent possible and when it is safe to do so, PG&E will not de-energize electric lines for inspections and repairs. There may be some cases, however, where PG&E may need to de-energize to ensure the safety of our crews. If we do need to de-energize a line to safely complete the work, we will aim to notify customers with as much advance warning as possible, through a letter, automated phone call or doorhanger.