- Almost 10,000 issues were revealed on Pacific Gas & Electric's (PG&E) grid through inspections intended to reduce the risk of the utility's equipment sparking a wildfire.
- Of those identified problems, 1,000 posed a safety risk and had to be immediately addressed, The Wall Street Journal reported. The utility has made most of those repairs but is still working on a backlog of 3,700 lower-priority fixes.
- As part of its Wildfire Safety Inspection Program, PG&E said it has now completed visual inspections of 96% (and aerial inspections of 92%) of approximately 50,000 transmission structures in high fire-risk areas.
PG&E says it will take three months to work through the most of the remaining high-priority issues, which include issues with transmission towers, distribution poles and substations, according to the Journal.
"We've accomplished a lot, but there is more work to do," Sumeet Singh, PG&E vice president of the Community Wildfire Safety Program, said in a statement.
PG&E's update covered work done through June 22.
The utility said it has completed inspections of all 222 substations in high fire-risk areas, along with inspections of almost all of its nearly 700,000 distribution poles in, or adjacent to, high fire-risk areas. The utility also said it has installed 430 hyper-local weather stations, including 231 installed so far this year, to improve its "situational awareness." PG&E plans to have 600 in place by the end of 2019 and 1,300 by 2022.
Also this year, PG&E has installed more resilient poles and covered power lines on 44 circuit miles, with plans to complete 150 circuit miles this year — and 7,100 miles in high fire-threat areas in the next 10 years.
PG&E also said it has begun "daily aerial fire detection patrols across thousands of miles of its service area." This is the sixth year the utility has utilized the patrols, which are designed to assist the U.S. Forest Service and state authorities and local fire agencies with early fire detection and response.
Last week, the Journal reported PG&E had known for years of the risk posed by its aging transmission system, and the potential to start wildfires but did little to address the issue. The utility filed for bankruptcy earlier this year related to wildfire liabilities.
PG&E officials told Utility Dive they "don't agree with or support the Journal's conclusions," but also acknowledged "we must do more to combat the threat of wildfires and extreme weather while hardening our systems."