PG&E Burying 10,000 Miles of Energy Strains to Stop Forest Fires – Enterprise Insurance
(Reuters) – Pacific Gas and Electric Co. announced Wednesday that it was burying 10,000 miles of power lines in high-risk areas to prevent wildfires as part of a safety initiative announced in Butte County, California that would take more than a year.
According to PG&E, the utility maintains more than 45,000 miles of overhead lines in the areas of highest fire risk, or more than 30% of its total overhead line system.
Last year, the company went out of bankruptcy and sought protection from creditors after wildfires of its equipment in 2017 and 2018 drove the utility's potential liabilities to tens of billions of dollars.
In 2020, California suffered the most damaging forest fire season ever in terms of land burned. As of May, California authorities documented over 1,000 more wildfires across the state than at the same time last year.
Burying power lines or burying them in the ground reduces the need for public safety shutdowns, which are the last resort in dry, windy conditions to reduce the risk of trees touching live power lines and igniting wildfire.
PG&E serves more than 16 million people in 70,000 square miles in Northern and Central California.