PG&E helicopter safety inspection

A Pacific Gas and Electric Co. helicopter flies above electrical power lines as part of the company’s accelerated wildfire safety inspection program that also includes electrical substations and transmission towers in northern Santa Barbara County.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. will share information about its Community Wildfire Safety Program with customers in northern Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties at an open house Thursday, June 20.

No formal presentation is planned, so customers can drop by Embassy Suites SLO , 333 Madonna Road, San Luis Obispo, anytime between 6 and 8 p.m., a company spokesman said.

Separate webinars also will be available for those who are unable to attend an event in person.

More information, as well as the schedule for upcoming open houses and webinars, is available at pge.com/wildfiresafety.

PG&E powerline maintenance 2

A Pacific Gas and Electric Co. helicopter uses a high-pressure stream to clean power transmission towers in remote areas of the Central Coast as part of its wildfire safety program. 

Topics will include expansion of the Public Safety Power Shutoff Program, accelerated safety inspections of electric infrastructure, enhanced vegetation management around power lines and hardening the system for the future by replacing equipment and installing stronger, more resilient poles and covered power lines.

“Given the continued and growing threat of extreme weather and wildfires, and as an additional precautionary measure following the 2017 and 2018 wildfires, PG&E is enhancing and expanding its Community Wildfire Safety Program to further reduce wildfire risks and help keep customers and communities safe,” the spokesman said.

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PG&E is also expanding its Public Safety Power Shutoff Program to include all electric lines — distribution as well as transmission — that pass through high fire-threat areas.

“Because the energy system relies on power lines working together to provide electricity across cities, counties and regions, power may be shut off even for those who do not live or work in a high fire-threat area or an area experiencing extreme fire danger conditions,” the spokesman explained.

He said PG&E only will shut down lines to help reduce the likelihood of a wildfire igniting when extreme weather and fire danger conditions are forecast.

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This report was compiled by Mike Hodgson, associate editor for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. He can be reached at mhodgson@leecentralcoastnews.com.