Decision Moves to CPUC for Ratification
Sacramento – The Office of Energy Infrastructure Safety (Energy Safety) today released its evaluation and approval of Pacific Gas and Electric’s (PG&E) 2023-2025 Wildfire Mitigation Plan (WMP). Energy Safety’s decision approving PG&E’s WMP moves to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for ratification.
“California will be safer with PG&E operating under this plan. And while they have much work to do, PG&E has consistently matured its wildfire risk capability year-over-year, has continued to make wildfire mitigation program improvements, and has set ambitious, yet feasible targets for its programs,” said Energy Safety Director Caroline Thomas Jacobs. “We will continue to push PG&E to ensure it not only matures in its planning but executes effectively on its commitments.”
Energy Safety’s approval of PG&E’s 2023-2025 WMP identifies several notable wildfire mitigation actions that include:
- A risk modeling framework approach that provides a thorough description of wildfire related risks and mitigations across the organization.
- 600-plus wildfire cameras with artificial intelligence software for automated generation of wildfire notifications across PG&E’s service territory. This effort can lead to early wildfire detection, assist in the confirmation of wildfires, and provide situational awareness of current and ongoing wildfires.
- Multi-Year Training and Exercise Plan that goes beyond peers in the training of key personnel and in planning for potential internal and external hazards and emergency situations.
Energy Safety’s approval requires several areas for continued improvement. These include more transparency on grid hardening decision making, continuing implementation of focused-tree inspections, identifying strike-tree potential in high fire risk areas, establishing digital record-keeping for hazard tree assessments, and reducing its asset maintenance backlog.
California’s electrical corporations are required to submit three-year WMPs, updated annually, to Energy Safety for review and approval. PG&E’s WMP was submitted in March for evaluation.
In April, Energy Safety held a two-day public workshop on the 2023-2025 WMP submissions from PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E. The electrical corporations made presentations and stakeholders were able to ask questions.
In June, Energy Safety issued a revision notice for PG&E’s 2023-2025 WMP. In issuing the revision notice, Energy Safety required PG&E to address several critical issues in its original WMP. In August, PG&E revised its plan in response to the revision notice. In September, PG&E included additional information in a supplemental response to the revision notice. Public comments on PG&E’s revised WMP were solicited until mid-October.
On Nov. 13, Energy Safety released its draft decision on PG&E’s 2023-2025 WMP for public review and comment.
Energy Safety approved 2023-2025 WMPs for San Diego Gas & Electric on Oct. 13, Southern California Edison on Oct. 24, and Bear Valley Electric Service on Nov. 6. There are five remaining 2023-2025 WMPs (Liberty Utilities, PacifiCorp, Horizon West, Trans Bay Cable, and LS Power) under Energy Safety review and evaluation.