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Southern California Edison Remains Committed to Wildfire Prevention and Response

Monday, October 01, 2018

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In response to the growing risk of wildfires in Southern California, Greater Irvine Chamber Leaders Circle member Southern California Edison (SCE) is taking action to address wildfire prevention, response, and liability, and is committed to working with state leaders on practical policy solutions to more effectively address these issues. 

Senate Bill 901 (SB 901) was signed recently into law. While this legislation is a step forward, SCE believes that more work still needs to be done to address wildfire prevention, response, and liability, and remains committed to working with state leaders on practical policy solutions to more effectively address these issues.

SCE recently filed a plan with the California Public Utilities Commission, outlining additional wildfire safety measures they propose implementing between now and the end of 2020. The $582 million plan, known as the Grid Safety and Resiliency Program, draws from the wildfire mitigation plans required by SB 901 and proposes the following additional approaches:

Hardening Infrastructure: With this filing, SCE will replace nearly 600 miles of overhead power lines in high fire risk areas with insulated wire, including fire-resistant composite poles when needed, by the end of 2020; install approximately 15,700 faster-acting fuses; and set up 98 additional remote-controlled automatic reclosers that can be programmed to not automatically re-energize during Red Flag conditions. These measures are aimed at preventing ignitions but will also improve reliability.

Wildfire ignitions can happen when distribution lines come in contact with objects, such as metallic balloons, tree limbs and palm fronds. While bare, uninsulated wires currently meet state standards, replacing them with insulated wires will help significantly reduce the potential for ignitions resulting from contact with foreign objects. In addition to the 600 miles proposed in this plan, SCE intends to replace approximately 3,400 miles of overhead lines between 2021 and 2025.

Increasing Situational Awareness: In addition to what SCE has already installed, SCE will deploy up to 160 high-definition cameras to save critical time in assessing fire severity and continue installing up to 850 weather stations for improved weather conditions monitoring.

Enhancing Operational Practices: In addition to SCE’s current vegetation practices, the organization will inspect all trees within 200 feet of its electric facilities and remove or prune trees that could strike equipment; employ Public Safety Power Shutoffs as a last resort in high fire risk areas during the most extreme fire conditions; and expand the use of infrared inspection for overhead distribution lines to help identify at risk equipment.

SCE’s top priority is safety, and the proposed plan was designed to protect its customers, communities, and employees by reducing the risks that can cause wildfires.

Category: Member News