PG&E finds new fire prevention technology to be successful

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Pacific Gas and Electric is advancing the use of technology to help prevent the start of fires.

As wildfire season begins, utility companies say there is a critical need to use enhanced powerline safety settings.

"If there's anything that can cause interruption to service such as a tree limb falling on it, these systems allow the power to be shut off in one-tenth of a second," said Denny Boyles, PG&E Spokesman.

Due to extreme dry conditions and increased fire danger, PG&E kicked off a pilot program in July of last year in areas considered high fire risk.

"What we saw was an 80% reduction in ignitions over the previous three years in that same district," explained Boyles.

This year, the project has been expanded from 11,000 to just over 25,000 miles. Although the overall goal is safety, some customers question if the power shut-offs are always necessary.

"I think they care genuinely for our state and people who live in the mountains and I think they are definitely trying to cover their end," said Seth Fisher, resident of Coarsegold.

Seth Fisher Lives in Coarsegold and also owns other properties that could be impacted.

"I have Airbnb's, that really affects my business. Sometimes when I have people that are staying up here, it still gets 100 degrees," added Fisher.

"I think everyone appreciates it when you can do things to reduce the risk of fire, but we also understand the inconvenience, that's caused by power outages," explained Boyles.

PG&E says the enhanced safety settings will allow them to minimize the frequency and duration of outages and reduce the number of customers impacted.
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