San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has developed a comprehensive 2019 Wildfire Mitigation Plan, as conversations about climate change and wildfires continue to be at the forefront of California policy discussions. This plan is designed to help prevent electric equipment-related fires, improve the resiliency of the regional power grid to withstand extreme weather conditions and enhance the company’s highest priority: keeping customers and communities safe.
“Every year, climate change presents new risks and challenges that we must prepare for and adapt to,” said Caroline Winn, chief operating officer for SDG&E. “Our engineers, fire-science and climate-adaption experts are continuing to develop and implement industry-leading wildfire mitigation tactics to help protect our communities. There is no higher priority for us than the safety of our customers.”
The plan builds upon the wildfire mitigation programs SDG&E has been developing and implementing over the past decade. Submitted to the California Public Utilities Commission on Feb. 6 in accordance with Senate Bill 901, the plan outlines the ongoing practices and additional improvements the company will undertake beyond the more than $1 billion in investments that SDG&E has made over the past decade to adapt to the effects of the changing climate and threat of year-round wildfires.
SDG&E’s approach to managing the risk of wildfires is three-pronged, focused on: operations and engineering, situational awareness and weather technology, and customer outreach and education.
The operations and engineering focus involves system hardening by upgrading wood pools to fire-resistant steel poles, aggressive vegetation management and the use of SDG&E’s Aircrane, a firefighting helitanker. Additionally, SDG&E has advanced meteorology and fire-science capabilities with a network of 177 weather stations to provide readings of wind speed, humidity and temperature in fire-prone areas. SDG&E also regularly collaborates with local agencies to help ensure effective outreach and communications to the public about the risk of wildfires, fire prevention and community resource centers.