New in 2020
Presentation to the Board of Supervisors
Thank you to Aaron Johnson, Jason Regan, Jon Stallman and Melinda Rivera of Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) for providing a robust update on what Lake County residents can expect surrounding any necessary Public Safety Power-Shutoff Events this Fall!
Community Wildfire Safety Program Long Form Video Script - What's New in 2020
As California faces an increased wildfire threat, PG&E is enhancing and expanding our efforts to reduce wildfire risks across our service territory. If severe weather threatens a portion of the electric system, it may be necessary for PG&E to turn off electricity in the interest of public safety. This is known as a Public Safety Power Shutoff. The sole purpose of a Public Safety Power Shutoff, or PSPS, is to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires during severe weather.
This year, PG&E is enhancing and expanding our efforts to reduce wildfire risks and keep our customers and communities safe. We continue to learn from past events and we are working to make events smaller in size, shorter in length and smarter for our customers. One of PG&E's goals this year is to reduce the number of customers affected by each potential PSPS event by approximately one-third compared to similar weather events last year.
To make PSPS events smaller, we are:
- Adding switches and sectionalizing devices to both our distribution and transmission lines that limit the size of outages,
- Developing microgrids that use temporary generators to keep the lights on in communities where it is safe to do so and
- Conducting targeted undergrounding of our power lines
We are also seeking to cut restoration times in half compared to 2019. Our goal this year is to inspect the system for damage and restore power to 98% of the impacted customers within 12 daylight hours after severe weather has passed. Steps we are taking to make PSPS events shorter in length include:
- Nearly doubling our exclusive-use helicopter fleet during events from 35 to 65,
- Using two airplanes with infrared cameras capable of inspecting transmission lines at night and
- Adding more field crews to speed inspection of lines
We are also providing more comprehensive information and resources to customers and communities before, during and after events and providing more assistance and outreach to help our customers with medical and independent living needs. This includes:
- Improving meteorology technology to pinpoint the timing and location of severe weather
- Bolstering website capacity to ensure our customers can get up to date information
- Improving customer alerts and notifications with windows of time for when power is expected to be shut off and restored
- Upgrading Community Resource Centers
- Improving coordination with local agencies and critical service providers
- Working with community-based organizations to support customers with medical needs
Turning off power can prevent wildfires, but also disrupts lives and can include its own risks, particularly for those who need power for medical equipment. That is why our work this year is focused on reducing the impacts on our customers without compromising safety. To learn more about resources available for our customers who depend on power for medical and independent living needs, visit our Independent Living Centers page.
For the latest on PG&E's wildfire safety efforts and the ways that we are improving Public Safety Power Shutoffs, visit our Wildfire Safety page.