Increased wildfire risk in the face of climate change
California’s wildfire season is now year-round and many, including Gov. Jerry Brown, are calling it the “new normal.” It’s a statewide issue that will require statewide solutions and the development of a new regulatory and legislative framework, and utilities, including Southern California Edison (SCE), are at the table as part of that ongoing solution.
“SCE is part of the discussions working on solutions that will allow California to change the way we all think about, plan and respond to wildfires,” said Pedro Pizarro, Edison International president and CEO.
Pedro Pizarro, Edison International president and CEO, discusses the California wildfires and electric vehicles. He speaks with Alix Steel on "Bloomberg Daybreak: Americas." (Source: Bloomberg)
"Our highest priority is safety and we’ve made significant investments to improve, repair and strengthen our existing infrastructure. We’ve worked hard to develop a comprehensive wildfire safety program to help protect our customers, communities and stakeholders."
READY TO RESPOND TOGETHER
How we respond
We continue to take steps to help reduce the risk of wildfires, including an aggressive vegetation management program and robust construction standards. We are proud of the many technology projects we’ve completed, including drones, weather stations and real-time cameras, to monitor high fire risk areas.
Additionally, our wildfire safety program includes having a fire management team that works closely with local fire agencies during wildfires and coordinates on response plans. SCE also partners with and funds nonprofits that work on various fire mitigation efforts, such as the California Conservation Corps.*
*The conservation corps, which recently received an Edison International grant of $100,000, helps reduce fuel for fires by removing dead or dying trees in forests throughout the state. Volunteers also help clear various trails as part of their efforts to reduce the risk of wildfires.
“We will continue to partner on solutions that will make California more resilient against the impacts of natural disasters and climate change,” said Pizarro. “We support state leaders as they seek to solve the statewide problem and respond to California’s ‘new normal.’”
In alignment with its operational safety practices, we may proactively shut off power in high fire risk areas when extreme weather conditions present a clear and imminent danger to public safety. We take pride in service reliability; de-energizing customers is not something we take lightly and is only sparingly used in the most extreme conditions. This will only occur after exhausting a number of other operational practices.
Working together as a community
To reduce wildfire threats and improve safety, we are working to bolster wildfire prevention, put in place new and enhanced safety measures and make the electric system more resilient. We want to work together to share information, provide resources and help our customers and communities prepare for and stay safe during extreme weather events.
Our efforts to partner with our customers are focused on helping to prepare for wildfire season, let them know what we are doing to keep them and their families safe and answer any questions they may have.
Together, we can answer the call, because we have a plan.