Edison spends a third of his plan insulating 10,000 kilometers of HED power lines:
Last month, electric utility Southern California Edison announced that in just over three and a half years, its crews had installed insulated cable coverings on about a third of its 10,000-mile network of power lines. traversing high fire risk areas, an effort that is expected to cost its taxpayers around $5 billion by the time the work is completed at the end of this decade.
In its July 12 announcement, SCE said it was on track to meet its year-end goal of replacing a total of 4,000 miles of bare power lines with covered insulation designed to significantly reduce risk. that these lines start forest fires.
“The Covered Conductor is an essential tool for quickly mitigating the threat of wildfires that could be caused by debris blowing into power lines,” SCE Chief Executive Steve Powell said in the announcement.
Southern California Edison is the utility subsidiary and by far the largest unit of Edison International, based in Rosemead.
Installing wire insulation is a cornerstone of the utility’s wildfire mitigation plan, which also includes cutting vegetation near power lines, mounting cameras and other monitoring devices to more closely monitor weather and fire conditions, implementing power cuts during wind events or other “red flags”. conditions and re-route portions of its power line network underground.
The announcement says SCE plans to complete accelerated network reinforcement work on more than 50 additional circuits this year, as well as more disconnect devices and weather stations.
“Across these 50 circuits, the company expects an additional 60% reduction in power outage time for public safety over the past two years, assuming the same weather and fuel conditions,” the announcement reads. .
SCE plans to have a total of 6,500 miles of power lines covered in insulation material by the end of 2024, with an additional 1,850 miles covered by the end of 2028.
Assuming these goals are met, approximately 85% of the 10,000 miles of power lines running through high fire risk areas will be covered with insulation.
Some of the remaining 1,500 miles of power lines are planned to run underground, a much more expensive option.
All of this will cost Southern California Edison taxpayers billions of dollars.
SCE spokesman Reggie Kumar told the Business Journal that between 2019 and 2023, the utility plans to spend $2.5 billion to $3 billion to install up to 5,300 miles of covered driver in areas. high risk of fire.
The company has requested additional funding of $800 million to install an additional 1,200 covered driver miles in 2024, he added.
All fund expenditures must be approved by the California Public Utilities Commission as part of the general proceedings of SCE’s rate case before that body. These procedures determine the rates that utility customers will pay for their electricity.