Pacific Gas and Electric Corp. (PG&E) filed its 2022 Wildfire Mitigation Plan with California regulators Friday (Feb. 25) and announced plans to “significantly accelerate the undergrounding of power lines in high fire-risk areas,” according to Fox News.
In a press release, the company said it is aiming to bury “at least 175 miles of power lines” this year and that it plans to further increase the pace to have approximately 3,600 miles underground by 2026.
PG&E wrote that the wildfire risk reduction measure reduces the need for trimming and removing trees and reduces the costs of vegetation management work overtime.
The company also said it would move to expand its Enhanced Powerline Safety Settings program in order to reduce the risk of ignitions from its electric equipment in the short term, as well as improve public safety power shutoffs (PSPS events), situational awareness and forecasting and vegetation management.
Additional “longer-term solutions” include grid design, system hardening and asset management, and inspections.
“PG&E has taken a stand that catastrophic wildfires shall stop, and our Wildfire Mitigation Plan for 2022 details the work we are doing right now to make that stand a reality,” PG&E CEO Patti Poppe said in a statement. “Undergrounding power lines and expanding Enhanced Powerline Safety Settings represent the best mix of long- and near-term solutions to make it safer every day for our hometowns while keeping our customers’ energy costs and bills as low as possible.”
According to The Sacramento Bee, PG&E’s wildfire safety budget for 2022 is expected to hit $5.96 billion, up from nearly $4.9 billion last year.