PG&E Seeks Approval from CPUC

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The state’s public utilities commission is finalizing a plan for companies like PG&E to de-energize lines during times of high fire risk.  PG&E has been under pressure in recent years as a growing number of high profile fires have been linked to its equipment.  Calling it a “measure of last resort,” the company is proposing to de-energize lines, if the need arises, as a preventative measure.  The outages could last multiple days.  PG&E Spokesperson Jeff Smith says the utility is telling all five million of its customers that they have the potential to be impacted, and that they should have a plan if and when their power needs to be turned off because of extreme fire risk.  According to Smith, no single factor would drive a “Public Safety Power Shutoff,” but factors in the decision include a “Red Flag” fire warning from the National Weather Service, low humidity levels, forecasted sustained winds above 25 mph (or excessive winds over 45pm), extreme fuel conditions, and on the ground observations.  Smith says that PG&E’s goal is to send customer alerts 24-48 hours prior to shutting off power.  More information on the “PS-PS” program is expected to be released this month.                                                                                                                        

 Written by KVGC Staff