PG&E: Smart grid helped speed storm recovery

Dive Brief:

  • Pacific Gas & Electric is crediting smart grid technology for helping quickly return power to about a half million customers who were offline following strong storms which hit the west coast last week.
  • PG&E said that of the 500,000 customers who lost service during the storm, more than 95% saw their power restored in less than 48 hours.
  • While smart grid technology may have helped, the utility said it devoted 340 crews to the storm-response effort and also brought in more than a dozen contract crews from Oregon, Washington and Southern California.

Dive Insight:

Dubbed the "Pineapple Express," the storm knocked out power to a half million and PG&E said emerging technologies can be credited for the speedy grid recovery. 

The utility said "advancements such as self-healing circuits" were one technology that made a difference, along with pre-storm preparations, deployment of mobile command vehicles in the service area, and the technology utilized at the recently opened Electric Distribution Control Center in Fresno.

PG&E spokesman Brian Swanson told Smart Grid News​, "our smart meter and smart grid program has been very helpful in getting service restored quickly. ... We can pinpoint the location of outages. We also have intelligent switches on our power lines."

The storm was one of the strongest to hit the west coast in years, with winds pushing 100 miles per hour in some spots and torrential rains throughout northern California.

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Filed Under: Transmission & Distribution