More Than 80 Instances of Wind-Driven Damage or Hazards Found on PG&E Power Lines That Were De-energized for Sept. 7-10 Public Safety Power Shutoff
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has identified more than 80 cases of damage or hazards found on power lines that had been de-energized for public safety due to the recent severe wind event. Any of these could have potentially led to a wildfire had the lines not been turned off during the Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) event that started on Sept. 7, 2020.
Although conducting a PSPS event is a tool of last resort for PG&E, it’s important to understand the goals of the program are to not have electrical equipment start any catastrophic wildfires and to prioritize public and customer safety.
In a report submitted to the California Public Utilities Commission today, PG&E also shared:
- That wind gusts of in excess of 50 mph were recorded at weather stations in 14 different counties in PG&E’s service area, including:
- A 66-mph gust in Butte County
- A 66-mph gust in Sonoma County
- A 62-mph gust in Kern County
- How PG&E’s web site and contact centers successfully provided information to millions of customers without any difficulties or delays
- How 50 Community Resource Centers provided water, bathrooms and device-charging to thousands of customers whose power had been turned off for public safety
- How new weather technology and mitigation measures enabled PG&E to execute a PSPS that affected approximately 50 percent fewer customers than a comparable weather event would have in 2019.
- How PG&E was able to restore electric service to 97% of all customers who could be safely restored on Sept. 9, within 12 daylight hours of the severe weather clearing, and to all customers served by accessible circuits on Sept. 10.
“We have worked diligently to improve Public Safety Power Shutoffs by integrating enhanced weather technology, boosting our coordination with counties and state agencies, and making sure customers get timely and accurate information,” said Michael Lewis, PG&E’s Interim President. “Still, we know turning off the power represents a significant hardship for our customers. Please know that we don’t take this decision lightly, and we will only initiate a PSPS as an option of last resort when severe weather that could cause a wildfire makes it absolutely necessary for public safety.”