Company has reduced the probability of catastrophic wildfires associated with its equipment by about 75%-80% since 2018
Company’s new three-year wildfire plan demonstrates operational progress, outlines critical work ahead
Southern California Edison today submitted its 2023-25 Wildfire Mitigation Plan to California’s Office of Energy Infrastructure Safety. SCE has reduced the probability of wildfires associated with its utility equipment by 75%-80% since 2018. This is a significant improvement within a short period and the company’s long-term public safety goals continue to be ambitious.
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SCE lineworkers atop a pole helping to guide an SCE helicopter as it pulls covered conductor, or power lines with a protective layer, from one pole to another. (Photo: Business Wire)
This year’s plan details the company’s strategy to continue grid hardening with covered conductor, also known as coated wire, and undergrounding more power lines in locations with the highest wildfire risk.
“We plan to further reduce the risk of wildfires and the impact of Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) in this three-year phase of the WMP through grid hardening and customer care programs, building on the steady work we have completed over the past few years,” said Steven Powell, president & CEO of SCE. “We understand the impact our customers in high fire risk areas have faced from the threat of wildfires and the PSPS program that prevents wildfires.”
The 2023-25 plan includes a range of measures and key staples from previous plans. These include grid hardening primarily through the installation of covered conductor, enhanced vegetation management and advanced monitoring and alert systems to enhance situational awareness during dangerous weather events — all of which are vital to preventing ignitions from utility infrastructure. The plan further outlines the continued use of drones and helicopters to inspect more than 250,000 structures each year in high-risk areas to determine the potential need for repair or replacement.
“My city has been identified by the State of California as being in a high fire risk area. As such, I appreciate Southern California Edison’s annual wildfire plan and its collaborative efforts toward reducing the threat of wildfires in our community,” said City of Thousand Oaks Councilman Robert Engler. “Grid hardening, vegetation management and the deployment of resources like the Quick Reaction Force Helitankers are indicative of Edison's efforts to reduce fire exposure to cities like my own.”
The plan prioritizes the installation of covered conductor in areas of higher wildfire or PSPS outage risk. SCE plans to install more than 2,850 additional miles of covered conductor during this plan period. By the end of 2025, the company expects to have replaced more than 7,200 miles, or about 75%, of overhead distribution power lines in high fire risk areas with covered conductor.
“Our 2023-25 plan builds on the significant progress of our wildfire mitigation program over the past four years — progress that is necessary as we witness the devastating effects of extreme weather,” said Jill Anderson, executive vice president of Operations for SCE. “Our wildfire mitigation efforts will add resiliency to the electric system as we navigate a changing climate and move toward increased electrification in the economy.”
SCE has identified specific high-risk areas across its service area where the undergrounding of power lines will be prioritized. The company is evaluating several hundred miles of power lines for undergrounding and plans to complete about 100 miles by 2025 to address the high risk presented by limited exit and entry points to communities, extreme potential consequences and other factors.
Over the next plan period, SCE will continue to focus and prioritize much of the company’s efforts on vulnerable communities and those areas that have been impacted by PSPS, particularly for Access and Functional Needs customers. SCE will also evaluate and refine its stakeholder coordination and customer outreach programs based on feedback received from these stakeholders.
Lastly, SCE is expanding its partnership with fire agencies in its service area by moving to a year-round Quick Reaction Force (QRF) of aerial firefighting resources. The QRF includes helitankers, reconnaissance aircraft and equipment to bolster firefighting. These capabilities help to reduce a fire’s consequences, provide service resilience to customers and protect electrical infrastructure.
Visit Edison.com/wildfire-safety for more information regarding SCE’s Wildfire Mitigation Plan
About Southern California Edison
An Edison International (NYSE: EIX) company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving a population of approximately 15 million via 5 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California.
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