PG&E says line damage shows California utility shutoffs were right call

Oct. 22, 2019
100-plus recent incidents of wind damage or hazards were spread widely across Pacific Gas and Electric Company's Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) footprint.

As reported by CablingInstall's sister website for the electrical power industry, Utility Products, California's Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has released photos of wind-related damage and hazards that were found during inspections following the utility's widely reported Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS). The utility is making these findings available to the public on its website at pge.com/pspsupdates as the reviews are completed, with more expected in the coming days.

The 100-plus incidents of damage or hazards were spread widely across PG&E's PSPS footprint. Wind gusts exceeded 50 mph in 16 of the 35 counties in the PSPS footprint, and damage or hazards were found in nearly all of them. It is possible that these damages and hazards represented potential sources of wildfire ignition.

Some examples according to PG&E are:

  • In Glenn County, a large tree limb was found lying across an electric line.
  • In Napa County, a large tree limb was found tangled with a span of wires.
  • In Santa Clara County, a very large tree branch fell through lines connected to a house.
  • In Santa Cruz County, a tree fell across the lines.
  • In Shasta County, a large tree fell into the lines pulling a utility pole from its foundation.

PG&E said its teams continue to review the reports from safety inspections of 25,000 miles of distribution lines and 2,500 miles of transmission lines, a combined distance that's longer than a trip around the Earth. As additional information and insights are gathered, the utility will make the findings available on its website (pge.com/pspsupdates) until the review is complete.

"While we understand and recognize the major disruption this PSPS event imposed on our customers and the general public, these findings suggest that we made the right call, and importantly no catastrophic wildfires were started," said Michael Lewis, PG&E's senior vice president of Electric Operations.

Below, local news ABC10's Mayde Gomez addresses viewer questions to a PG&E spokesperson regarding the Public Safety Power Shutoffs that affected approximately 600,000 customers in California.

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