New Wildfire Prevention Technology Shuts Off Power On Impact

Sonora, CA – Things like tree branches have been the cause of multiple high-profile fires in California in recent years.

In response, PG&E has implemented new technology that will shut off power within one-third of a second, when a fault, such as a tree limb coming into contact with a powerline, is detected. PG&E reports that last year, on 170 circuits with the new safety setting enabled, there was an 80% reduction in “reportable ignitions in high-fire areas that could result in a wildfire,” compared to the prior three-year average.

The company reports that this summer season, “Enhanced Powerline Safety Settings” now helps protect three million people who live in high fire risk areas.

Asked about the local region, PG&E spokesman Deanna Contreras says, “There are 18 circuits in Calaveras County that have EPSS settings on them and they have been enabled. And there are portions of 20 circuits in Tuolumne County that have EPSS settings and they are all enabled as well. “

Click on the image box to see a pair of supplemental maps with more specifics on the two-county region.

The new technology brings with it the likelihood of additional power outages. So far this year, circuits with EPSS in California have experienced 205 outages, with an average restoration time of 3.5 hours.

PG&E VP Mark Quinlan adds, “When we stop ignitions, we stop wildfires. Rest assured that we work every day to prevent outages and expedite restoration if they do. “

PG&E says the safety settings will be enabled on 700 to 800 of those circuits between now and the end of the wildfire season.

  • Calaveras County EPSS Map

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