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PG&E Self-Reports Missed Inspections to CPUC, Takes Immediate Corrective Actions

March 9, 2021
Utility expects to complete missed inspections by March 13 for Tier 3 and March 31 for Tier 2 facilities.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) recently informed the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) about an error related to the PG&E's System Inspection Program that is part of its Community Wildfire Safety Program. The utility said it is actively working to correct the error on an expedited basis.

The PG&E's System Inspection Program examines its electric distribution, transmission, and substation equipment across its service area in Northern and Central California to find and fix potential risks to the safety and reliability of the system. In both 2019 and 2020, this included enhanced inspections of PG&E electric transmission, distribution, and substation assets located in Tier 3 (extreme) and Tier 2 (elevated) High Fire-Threat Districts (HFTDs).

The PG&E has determined that it did not do enhanced inspections on 24 Tier 3 hydroelectric substations in 2020 and five distribution poles in 2019 and 2020.

Although these assets make up a small percentage — less than 0.01% of the approximately 50,000 electric transmission structures, approximately 700,000 distribution poles, and 222 substations subject to inspection under the PG&E's Wildfire Mitigation Plans — missing them falls short of the utility's responsibility to inspect these assets. The PG&E is taking immediate action to inspect these facilities by March 13 for Tier 3 and March 31 for Tier 2 facilities. It is also completing any high-priority repairs on assets in both tiers.

"While these missed inspections are a small percentage in comparison to all the work accomplished in 2019 and 2020, we have to make sure that all of our work is executed and recorded accurately every time. This must be our new standard going forward. The safety of our customers, communities, and workforce is our most important responsibility and no one will watch us more closely than we will watch ourselves. We expect to have these issues mitigated by the end of March and will share results of our root cause evaluation," said Adam Wright, executive vice president and chief operating officer.

The PG&E's corrective action plan includes:

  • Self-reporting this matter to the CPUC, the federal monitor overseeing the PG&E's probation, the governor's office operational observer, and other key stakeholders.
  • Conducting a root cause evaluation to determine process breakdowns and taking immediate corrective actions to meet the PG&E's regulatory requirements and safety commitments.
  • Completing the necessary inspections by March 13 in Tier 3 and by March 31 in Tier 2, and completing any high-priority repairs on assets in both tiers expeditiously.
  • Performing enhanced inspections on these facilities in compliance with the PG&E's 2021 Wildfire Mitigation Plan.
  • Updating the utility's records so that its enhanced inspection program is current going forward.

The PG&E will share its findings and progress in addressing these issues with the CPUC so that they do not reoccur.

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