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PG&E Says It Will Bury 10,000 Miles of Power Lines to Reduce California Fire Risk


To help prevent wildfires in California, Pacific Gas and Electric Company has announced a major new initiative to bury 10,000 miles of power lines underground.

In addition to significantly reducing the risk of wildfires, the underground installation also benefits customers by decreasing the need for public safety power outages, which are called as a last resort during dry and windy conditions to reduce the risk of vegetation entering in contact with live power lines and start a forest fire.

This effort will also help alleviate the need for vegetation management efforts, leaving more California trees intact.

“We have taken a position that catastrophic wildfires will stop,” Executive Director Patti Poppe said in a statement. “We will gladly partner with state and local legislators and leaders to chart a path that we can all believe in.”

Making change happen

Pacific Gas and Electric Company is the nation’s largest natural gas and electric utility company, serving more than 16 million people in 70,000 square miles in Northern and Central California.

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In the past, hiding has been done selectively, on a case-by-case basis, and largely for reasons other than reducing the risk of wildfires.

Following the devastating Northern California wildfires in October 2017 and the 2018 camp fire, PG&E began evaluating the installation of underground overhead power lines as a wildfire safety measure, and to better understand construction requirements. and costs associated with burial for system strengthening purposes.

In 2019, PG&E announced that it would rebuild all of its underground power lines in Town of Paradise while helping the community recover from the Camp Fire.

The company is also rebuilding underground power lines within the 2020 North Complex Fire footprint in Butte County.

Through these and other demonstration projects and rebuilding efforts, PG&E has been able to refine the construction requirements and costs associated with specific burial, allowing for the acceleration and expansion of burial projects.

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Ten thousand miles of [buried] The line is a trip to the middle of the planet, 10,000 miles of line is a trip from Chico to Los Angeles 11 times and vice versa, ”said Poppe. “We will partner with the best and the brightest to find the best solutions to make this bold goal a reality.”

Featured Image: Eddiem360, CC License

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