As of Friday, February 25th, all large Investor-Owned Utilities (IOUs)—such as PG&E and Southern California Edison—have filed their 2022 Wildfire Mitigation Plan (WMP) updates with the Office of Energy Infrastructure Safety (Energy Safety). These Plans describe how the utility is constructing, maintaining, and operating its lines and equipment to minimize the risk of their assets igniting a catastrophic wildfire. These updates largely build on a suite of focus areas that include system hardening, risk assessment, vegetation management and proactive de-energization efforts first undertaken in 2018. Notably, PG&E’s 2022 WMP update signals the acceleration of undergrounding powerlines in high fire risk areas. PG&E intends to underground at least 175 miles of powerlines in 2022, and proposes to increase that pace to approximately 3,600 miles by 2026. Southern California Edison is expanding their grid hardening strategies, which previously relied on the installation of covered conductor to reduce ignitions. While PG&E expects to increase its WMP spending by $1.1 billion in 2022, Southern California Edison expects their WMP efforts to cost the same as last year, pegged at $1.66 billion total. To view these plans in full, please see the Energy Safety Docket here.
On Thursday, March 10th, the Office of Energy Infrastructure Safety will be holding a technical workshop for a variety of stakeholders including public agencies and members of the public to ask questions directed at the large IOUs on their WMP initiatives. Energy Safety has primary responsibility to evaluate these Plans and determine compliance. Written public comments are due by Monday, April 11th. On Friday, May 6th, Small and Multi-Jurisdictional Utilities (SMJUs)—which include Liberty Utilities and PacifiCorp—will file their 2022 WMP updates with a similar public vetting process to follow.
For more information or to send feedback on these WMPs, please contact RCRC Policy Advocate Leigh Kammerich.