MENDOCINO Co., 7/20/20 — Pacific Gas & Electric is using drones and helicopters to conduct line inspections in Mendocino, Humboldt, and Lake counties. The company announced in a press release that the inspections are meant to identify and fix potential wildfire risks in electric transmission lines. Flights are expected to occur for the next couple months.
PG&E says that the inspections are meant to protect grid safety in areas at risk of wildfires. This week, inspections are expected to occur along lines in Hopland, Mendocino, Willits, Fort Bragg, Philo, Elk and Gualala.
Here is the press release with more information about how the inspections are conducted and what areas will be inspected this week:
PG&E Conducting Line Inspections Using Drones & Helicopters
Flights will continue in North Coast counties
EUREKA, Calif. — Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) is conducting its updated System Inspections program in Humboldt, Mendocino and Lake counties using drones and helicopters along electric transmission lines. The System Inspections Program accelerates inspection cycles beyond compliance regulations to align with wildfire risk. It’s one of many initiatives PG&E has undertaken to protect grid safety and reliability, with other measures including enhanced vegetation management and system-hardening.
The program occurs on an ongoing basis to find and fix potential risks to the safety and reliability of the system. The company is prioritizing work in areas of extreme (Tier 3) and elevated (Tier 2) wildfire risk as defined by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) High Fire-Threat District Map. Equipment along electric transmission lines located in Tier 3 and Tier 2 areas will be evaluated more frequently, while infrastructure in non-high fire-threat areas will be inspected at least every six years.
In 2020, the company plans to inspect more than 15,000 miles of its electric lines. That includes all lines in Tier 3 areas and one-third of all lines in Tier 2 areas. The company is also planning to inspect additional line miles in non-high fire-threat areas. The inspections will occur through the end of the year.
PG&E has notified customers along several transmission lines throughout Humboldt, Mendocino and Lake counties of the drone and helicopter flights via postcards or automated phone calls.
Schedules are subject to change. The inspection areas this week and next are for the following areas:
- Humboldt: Bridgeville, Maple Creek, Hoopa, Trinity, Blue Lake, Arcata, Fairhaven, Orrick and Janes Creek.
- Mendocino: Hopland, Mendocino, Willits, Fort Bragg, Philo, Elk and Gualala.
- Lake: line that runs from Konocti to Middletown.
Inspectors are looking at all components of our assets, including cross-arms, insulators and footings, along with critical electrical components and equipment. Inspectors document findings through high-resolution images, which are reviewed by dedicated teams experienced in system maintenance, engineering, construction and maintenance planning to evaluate identified conditions.
All the highest-priority conditions PG&E Line Inspectionsfound through inspections will be promptly repaired or made safe. Repairs for all other conditions are scheduled for completion as part of the company’s routine work execution plan.
Weather permitting and barring maintenance issues, flights will occur Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. through 6 p.m. over the next couple of months.