PG&E Responds to California Public Utilities Commission’s Draft Resolution to Implement Enhanced Regulatory Oversight
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) today issued the following statement in response to a draft resolution released by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC):
Today, the CPUC issued a draft resolution proposing to place PG&E into step one of the Enhanced Oversight and Enforcement program established last year in its approval of our Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization. The CPUC cited shortcomings in our 2020 Enhanced Vegetation Management, which is part of our comprehensive Community Wildfire Safety Program. The first step directs us to submit a corrective action plan and progress reports to the CPUC.
The findings received today are consistent with concerns raised in prior reports from the CPUC and our Federal Monitor about our Enhanced Vegetation Management program. We continue to take this feedback seriously. We have already implemented improvements to this program and will continue to do so as outlined in our 2021 Wildfire Mitigation Plan (WMP).
We will promptly prepare the corrective action plan to address the issues in the draft resolution, with clear timelines and commitments. We are committed to this critical work, and we welcome continued feedback and oversight from the CPUC and other stakeholders as we continue to learn, adapt and strengthen our system for the long term.
PG&E shares the CPUC’s focus on safety and recognizes that we must take a leading role in reducing the risk of wildfires throughout our service area. We understand that the most important responsibility that we have as a company and as individuals is to keep our customers, communities and our workforce safe. That is our focus every day, we know we have more to do, and we are committed to doing it the right way.
Enhancements Already in Progress That Address Issues Identified by CPUC
We will continue to meet with the CPUC’s Wildfire Safety Division on a consistent basis to provide updates on our progress in vegetation management improvements, as we have done since last fall.
Since receiving feedback last fall from the CPUC and our Federal Monitor regarding our Enhanced Vegetation Management program, we took immediate action to improve. Those improvements—many of which we believe address the issues raised in today’s draft resolution from the Commission—are reflected in our 2021 WMP.
For example, we have already implemented the following:
- Enhanced Wildfire Risk Model Using Machine Learning Capabilities: Our new Wildfire Risk Model consists of significant improvements from our prior model and leverages predictive analysis of environmental conditions that have the potential to turn a small fire into a major wildfire. We’ve developed and implemented machine learning capabilities, enabling an evolution from static to dynamic risk models. Additionally, we’re using state-of-the-art remote sensing capabilities to obtain an understanding of both the fuel type and conditions that contribute to fire spread in our high fire risk areas. These enhancements will help us target and prioritize our work to address the highest wildfire risk areas.
- Evolved from Activity-Based Program Measures to Risk-Focused Program: Our 2020 WMP was primarily activity-based, focused on miles of lines completed for our key wildfire safety measures, such as Enhanced Vegetation Management and System Hardening. We have moved to a 2021 WMP that is risk-focused, addressing the highest risk areas for mitigation as our top priority, informed by our enhanced predictive wildfire risk models.
- Elevated Transparency and Oversight: Our newly formed Wildfire Risk Governance Steering Committee—which is chaired by our Chief Risk Officer, Sumeet Singh, and includes leaders from Electric Operations, Risk and Internal Audit, and other teams, as well as representatives from our Federal Monitor and Governor’s Office as independent observers—is responsible for approving the selection of Enhanced Vegetation Management work locations and monitoring regular reporting of work completed to ensure actual work is aligned with the planned risk reduction and performed with the highest level of quality.
In addition, we are working to implement the following: