Pacific Gas and Electric Co. delivered record electric reliability to its customers for the sixth straight year. Since 2009, the utility has consistently reduced the average duration of power outages. Additionally, customers experienced the fewest number of outages in company history in 2014.
"We know how important reliable service is to our communities, our economy and our quality of life," said Chris Johns, president of PG&E. "This is why PG&E has been making substantial investments to improve the reliability of our service. Our record-setting numbers over the past six years show that our electric team's dedication is making a difference."
"This electric reliability achievement comes as a direct result of the hard work and tireless dedication of the men and women of Electric Operations who are consistently focused on meeting the needs of the communities we serve," said Geisha Williams, PG&E's executive vice president of Electric Operations. "I'm incredibly proud of everything they have achieved, as well as the investments we've made — and will continue to make — to strengthen our infrastructure and incorporate the latest smart grid technology."
PG&E has integrated a wide range of advanced communications and control technologies throughout its electric grid to help enhance the resiliency of the system and to help identify and restore power outages more quickly.
SmartMeters play an important role in PG&E's response to power outages. The utility receives data within seconds of an outage to help employees quickly determine the scope and level of response needed. They also help identify the location of an outage to reduce the amount of time it takes for restoration crews to arrive on scene.
PG&E is also installing advanced automated technology on power lines throughout its service area. This technology can automatically "self-heal" the grid by re-routing the flow of electricity around a damaged power line and effectively restore power to the majority of impacted customers within minutes. These systems have been installed on nearly 20% of PG&E's electrical distribution circuits and have helped the company avoid more than 60 million customer outage minutes since the program began in 2012.
New Distribution Control Centers
PG&E is also constructing state-of-the-art electric distribution control centers that will manage the more than 140,000 miles of electric distribution system throughout northern and central California. These facilities will be the nerve centers of the grid that deliver energy to individual homes and businesses. The first control center opened in Fresno in late 2014 and is equipped with systems that support not only today's current smart grid technology, but will also support future upgrades as well. An additional facility is expected to open this year in Concord, California.