PG&E Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Report 2018

PG&E Chapter 11 Update

Electric Operations

To provide safe and reliable energy, we continue to enhance and strengthen our infrastructure, including making substantial investments to upgrade the energy grid and our operations. We understand that we have much work to do in this area, which is why we are taking decisive action to repair or replace aging electric assets and implementing enhanced and additional safety precautions to further reduce wildfire risks and help keep the customers and communities we serve safe.

Our Approach

As part of our multiyear plan, PG&E is continuing to modernize the grid and develop and build an automated platform that allows energy technologies to be interconnected with each other and integrated into the larger grid.

A smarter grid—or integrated grid platform—is designed to incorporate new energy technologies as they are introduced, to give our customers increased flexibility, choice and value. This grid can also give PG&E greater visibility to improve operational effectiveness and to more effectively integrate renewable energy with conventional sources.

Our Community Wildfire Safety Program is taking additional precautionary measures that will help further reduce wildfire threats and strengthen our communities for the future. We are bolstering wildfire prevention and emergency response efforts, putting in place new and enhanced safety measures, and doing more over the long term to harden our electric system to help reduce wildfire risks and to keep our customers safe.

2018 Milestones

In 2018, as part of our commitment to safety, many of PG&E’s efforts focused on additional precautionary measures intended to further reduce wildfire threats. Highlights include:

  • Began detailed and enhanced inspections of electric infrastructure. These safety inspections include approximately 50,000 transmission structures in high fire-risk areas, all 222 substations in high fire-risk areas, and nearly 700,000 distribution poles in, or adjacent to, high fire-risk areas. Progress on PG&E’s Wildfire Safety Inspection Program is available to customers.
  • Established a Wildfire Safety Operations Center (WSOC). The center serves as a hub from which we monitor potential wildfire threats across our service area in real time and coordinate with first responders and public safety officials to respond to any emerging threats to our communities. PG&E completed significant upgrades to the center in 2019.
  • Installed more than 200 new weather stations. To further advance our weather forecasting capabilities, we are building our own network of weather stations to monitor and forecast weather conditions and better predict where extreme wildfire danger could occur. By 2022, we’re proposing to add approximately 1,300 new weather stations, a density of one station per roughly every 20 circuit-miles in the highest fire-risk areas.
  • Enhanced vegetation management in high fire-threat areas. We enhanced our vegetation management work to meet and exceed state vegetation standards. This included increasing clearances and targeted removal of dead and dying trees as well as certain species that are at increased risk of falling into power lines.
  • Implemented the Public Safety Power Shutoff program. This additional precautionary measure includes all electric lines that pass through high fire-threat areas. If extreme fire danger conditions threaten a portion of the electric system, PG&E may turn off electricity in the interest of public safety.

Measuring Progress

The average time a PG&E customer was without power (SAIDI) was 126.9 customer-minutes, which represents a 30 percent improvement from 10 years ago. The average number of power interruptions per customer (SAIFI) was 1.081, or just more than one outage per customer per year.

Our 10-year electric reliability progress since 2009 is detailed in the table below.

Electric Reliability Progress Footnote 1
2009 2018
Average duration of outages per customer in minutes (SAIDI) 158.0 126.9
Average number of outages per customer (SAIFI) 1.173 1.081
  • 1. Thus far, PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events have exceeded our Major Event Day threshold and have been classified as excludable, and were thus not included in the 2018 reliability metrics. Any future PSPS events are likely to exceed our Major Event Day threshold and be excluded; however, it is possible that we could have a smaller, more localized PSPS event that does not qualify as an excludable event, and would be included in these reliability metrics.1

PG&E also tracks the number of customers who experience five or more sustained outages (CEMI-5), measured as a percentage of the total customers served, as well as the percentage of time that PG&E personnel are on site within 60 minutes after receiving a 911 call of a potential PG&E electric hazard. The increase for CEMI-5 in 2018 was largely driven by a large number of storms throughout the year.

Electric System Progress
2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Customers experiencing five or more sustained outages (CEMI-5) 1.71% 1.35% 2.10% 1.81% 2.61%
Electric Emergency Response (percentage within 60 minutes) 94.1% 97.1% 98.3% 96.6% 97.9%