New technology will help lessen the impact of SDG&E outages during wildfires

Utility company unveils plans for peak fire season
Posted at 8:36 AM, Sep 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-05 12:31:30-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - SDG&E will unveil new technology and plans for the upcoming peak fire season Wednesday, including a device that will help them minimize the impact of power outages during high wind days.

"We listened to customers, we asked what they wanted to see improve, and we made improvements based on what they told us," said SDG&E Spokeswoman Allison Torres.

A significant change will be the way SDG&E handles preemptive power outages during high wind events. Instead of having to shut down an entire circuit or line, the company can now turn off only a portion of it.

"A lot of our circuits, the way they work is their long circuits," says Torres. "We were able to sectionalize them."

That means only customers in the greatest danger will have their power shut off.

"We've installed extra weather stations to monitor and get real-time data, so we know who's experiencing the most extreme fire danger and strongest winds out there," says Torres.

In addition to the new technology, SDG&E said it plans to establish nine community centers that will be opened during emergencies. Residents can go there if they lose power or to get information about the fire danger.

SDG&E also renewed its contract for an Aircrane helicopter to do water drops during fires. The company will have access to it for the rest of the year. Torres said that was important because they've already used the Aircrane more this year than in all of 2017, and peak fire season hasn't even started yet.

The company will give more details on all of this at a news conference Wednesday. Stay with 10News for the latest developments.