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PGE Fast Trip Safety Program Under Fire

PG and E’s new “Fast Trip” wildfire safety initiative has come under fire from the president of the California Public Utilities Commission. The program, also referred to as “Enhanced Powerline Safety Settings”, features ramping up the sensitivity of the circuit breakers on major stretches of the utility’s grid. That can trigger automatic outages, when powerlines come into contact with an animal, a tree, or something else, which could lead to a fire. Marybel Batjer says there are striking similarities with Public Safety Power Shutoffs in that the understanding of impacts on customers is overwhelmingly absent. But PG and E spokesman Paul Moreno says the program has been suspended, including in Nevada County, in response to a diminished wildfire threat from recent rains…

click to listen to Paul Moreno

In her letter, Batjer said since the “Fast Trip” program was launched, in late July, it triggered more than 500 blackouts, impacting over 560-thousand homes and businesses. And many customers were hit more than once…

click to listen to Paul Moreno

But in a statement, PG and E also said they agree with the CPUC that their initial customer communications fell short and reliability on some circuits has been unacceptably poor.

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