News for Atascadero, CA|Thursday, February 9, 2023
You are here: Home » Region » PG&E undergrounding 10,000 miles of power lines in highest fire-threat areas
  • Follow Us!
  • Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On TwitterVisit Us On LinkedinVisit Us On YoutubeCheck Our Feed

PG&E undergrounding 10,000 miles of power lines in highest fire-threat areas 

powerlinesProjects using undergrounding will harden the electric system and mitigate wildfire risk

— Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) today announced a major new initiative to expand the undergrounding of electric distribution power lines in High Fire Threat Districts (HFTD) to further harden its system and help prevent wildfires. The new infrastructure safety initiative, announced today in Butte County by PG&E Corporation CEO Patti Poppe, is a multi-year effort to underground approximately 10,000 miles of power lines.

PG&E’s commitment represents the largest effort in the U.S. to underground power lines as a wildfire risk reduction measure.

“We want what all of our customers want: a safe and resilient energy system,” Poppe said. “We have taken a stand that catastrophic wildfires shall stop. We will partner with the best and the brightest to bring that stand to life. We will demand excellence of ourselves. We will gladly partner with policymakers and state and local leaders to map a path we can all believe in.”

In addition to significantly reducing wildfire risk, undergrounding also benefits customers by lessening the need for Public Safety Power Shutoffs, which are called as a last resort during dry, windy conditions to reduce the risk of vegetation contacting live power lines and sparking a wildfire. Undergrounding also eases the need for vegetation management efforts, leaving more of California’s trees untouched.

Today, PG&E maintains more than 25,000 miles of overhead distribution power lines in the highest fire-threat areas (Tier 2, Tier 3 and Zone 1)—which is more than 30-percent of its total distribution overhead system.

10,000 miles of PG&E lines represents approximately the distance of 11 round trips from Chico to Los Angeles or almost half way around the world. The exact number of projects or miles undergrounded each year through PG&E’s new expanded undergrounding program will evolve as PG&E performs further project scoping and inspections, estimating and engineering review.

PG&E will engage customers and stakeholders as it develops a plan and reviews potential additional undergrounding sites based on a variety of factors, including local municipal planning and safety considerations. Engineering an underground electric system requires designing the system around existing water, natural gas and drainage systems, as well as planning for future road widening. PG&E intends to work closely with customers and local, state, federal, tribal and regulatory officials throughout this new safety initiative.

In the past, undergrounding has been done on a select, case-by-case basis, and largely for reasons other than wildfire risk reduction. Thanks to breakthroughs PG&E has achieved on undergrounding projects in recent years, undergrounding can now play a much more prominent role in PG&E’s ongoing efforts to harden the electric grid, according to the company.

Learn more about PG&E’s wildfire safety efforts by visiting pge.com/wildfiresafety.

To watch a recording of this week’s announcement, visit PG&E’s YouTube channel.

About the author: News Staff

News staff of the A-Town Daily News wrote and edited this article from local contributors and press releases. Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on , Twitter, LinkedIn, or follow his blog. He can be reached at scott@accesspublishing.com.

A-Town Daily News on Google
A-Town Daily News | 7343 El Camino Real #235 | Atascadero, CA 93422 | (805) 226-5720