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PG&E Preps for Winter Storms

December 02, 2016

Photo via Flickr/Jake Stimpson
Photo via Flickr/Jake Stimpson

Pacific Gas & Electric (Calif.) is preparing its fleet to better respond to storm damage with more accurate weather predictions, fleet upgrades, and improved communications.

The San Francisco-based utility employs a storm outage prediction model that compares 20 years of historical weather and outage data to real-time weather updates, the company announced in a release. The model allows PG&E to determine where to keep crews on standby for heavy storm activity.

PG&E is upgrading its mobile command vehicles, which are used in emergency-response and equipped with high-tech communication and mapping features. These upgrades will give the vehicles improved satellite data capabilities. Microwave trailers with 85-foot telescoping towers have also been added to the fleet, allowing incident-command staff to manage the storm response via PG&E’s telecommunications networks.

In addition, the utility has increased its inventory of mobile generators and plans to set up smaller base camps to launch restoration work to nearby areas. This is the first time the utility has used these sites for storm efforts. Previously, they were used to combat wildfires in 2015 and 2016.

Some parts of PG&E’s service area have already begun experiencing these seasonal changes. Eureka, Calif. experienced its wettest October since 1950, the second wettest since recordkeeping began in 1896.

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