Operational and situational awareness efforts improve our capability to make critical operational decisions more quickly and effectively. These include specific protocols for periods that are conducive to wildfires, such as “Red Flag Warning” days with high-wind conditions. We also monitor the National Fire Danger Ratings to ensure a better understanding of localized threat conditions—and appropriate actions to deal with those conditions. We’re using that information to operate our system in a manner to reduce wildfire risk and allow us to be more effective in responding to fire events when they occur.

We are constantly investing in our infrastructure and exploring new ways to continuously improve to ensure reliability, safety and affordability. In this evolving effort, new technology plays a key role in our new wildfire standards. These include key equipment that control the flow of electricity on our transmission lines: relays, reclosers, fuses, cutouts, and arrestors.

Recloser Upgrades 

Reclosers are equipment that, under normal circumstances, attempts to keep power flowing through a transmission or distribution line after a fault is detected, trying to reenergize the system. Under Red Flag Conditions, or if a transmission or distribution line has fallen to the ground, those attempts to reenergize should not occur for safety reasons. In 2020, the company began installing reclosers with remote communication capability, which will allow settings to be changed remotely if weather conditions warrant. Read about our other accomplishments and planned work in the table below.

Risk Model Enhancements

We’ve developed a Wildfire Risk Model to analyze our risk, inform the Wildfire Mitigation Plan, and estimate the potential impact of wildfire risk within our service territory. As more data and information becomes available, the Wildfire Risk Model will be updated to reflect our current understanding of wildfire risk.

Work Completed and Planned

Identified need for additional reclosers

Initiated risk modeling
Investigate additional Transmission Assessments including conductor analysis, climbing and UAS

Enhanced risk and wildfire spread modeling
Corrected nearly 300 transmission defects

Upgraded fuses and lightning arrestors
Initiate wire replacements initiatives

Replace fuses with devices that eliminate sparks during fuse operation
Performed a distribution feeder protection study

Initiated substation relay upgrades

Performed a wind strength analysis of transmission and distribution structures
Enhance system protection using Advanced Distribution Management System enhance operational capabilities

Implement “Wildfire Mode” on recloser equipment in Wildfire Risk Zones to prevent ignitions

Develop and consider alternative operating protocols in high-risk areas to reduce wildfire risk under certain conditions

Improve response protocols and fire safe work practices

Read more about our Wildfire Mitigation Plan.