Pacific Gas and Electric Completes 600 Miles of Underground Power Lines to Quash Fire Danger

Lynzie Lowe   The Reporter, Vacaville, Calif.

Dec. 21—Pacific Gas and Electric Company announced Wednesday completion of more than 600 miles of underground powerlines within its service region since 2021 as part of their 10,000-Mile Undergrounding program.

The estimate, according to utility officials, includes 32 miles of underground powerlines in Solano County in high-fire threat areas in Green Valley and northwest Vacaville.

“Our customers in high fire-risk locations where we have undergrounded powerlines not only benefit from wildfire mitigation, but also improved reliability at the lowest cost over the asset lifecycle,” said Peter Kenny, PG&E’s senior vice president of Major Infrastructure Delivery, which includes the 10,000-mile Undergrounding program. “That progress will continue in the years ahead.”

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Officials said the undergrounding program was launched in June 2021 by PG&E CEO Patti Poppe and PG&E and contract crews completed 73 miles that year followed by 180 miles in 2022.

According to a release issued by the utility, the 350 miles completed in 2023 represents the most ever in a single year by PG&E and nearly twice as many miles as were completed in 2022. While construction of these underground power lines were $4 million per mile when the program first started, PG&E targeted cost reductions to $3.3 million per mile by this year but actual costs have now fallen below $3 million per mile.

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“Undergrounding eliminates nearly 98% of the risk of wildfire ignition from electrical equipment,” read the release. “And it’s one of many layers of wildfire protection from PG&E, ranging from 600-plus weather stations and high-def cameras with AI capability for early fire detection to safety shutoff programs that prevent ignitions that could lead to catastrophic wildfires.”

The California Public Utilities Commission recently approved PG&E’s 2023-2026 General Rate Case, which authorized 1,230 miles of additional undergrounding in the next few years. According to utility officials, PG&E energized about 20 miles of undergrounded line each week on average.

For more information, visit www.pge.com/undergrounding.

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(c)2023 The Reporter, Vacaville, Calif.

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Lynzie Lowe   The Reporter, Vacaville, Calif. Dec. 21—Pacific Gas and Electric Company announced Wednesday completion of more than 600 miles of underground powerlines within its service region since 2021 as part of their 10,000-Mile Undergrounding program. The estimate, according to utility officials, includes 32 miles of underground powerlines in Solano County in high-fire threat areas […]

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