Strategic Undergrounding & Fire Risk Mitigation
For some in North America, warmer weather marks the start of hurricane season. For others, the summer signals a season of wildfire risk management and preparedness.
In a recent DistribuTech Connect virtual panel, industry experts Phil Herrington (Senior Vice President of Transmission and Distribution at SCE) and David L. Geier (CEO of Utility Safety Associates) discussed the potential of strategic undergrounding as a solution for fire risk mitigation. Mike Beehler (PDi2 spokesperson) moderated the panel.
PDi2 supports strategic undergrounding as a solution for fire risk mitigation. As an organization committed to helping power providers and decision-makers to make data-driven infrastructure decisions, we are working to dispel myths about the high cost of underground (UG) versus overhead (OH). When considering the total life cycle costs of UG vs OH as well as weighing other losses associated with wildfires (homes, businesses, regional economies), the old rules of thumb surrounding UG should be reevaluated. The life cycle costs of undergrounding are coming down.
In the video below, Herrington mentions undergrounding as a potential solution but emphasizes the importance of starting wildfire mitigation strategies with risk analysis. Topography and vegetation conditions will vary from utility to utility, and a risk analysis should drive your solution set.
Geier states that undergrounding is “very expensive” but that there are a lot of efforts going on now to drive down the cost of undergrounding.
Watch the video with highlights from the DistbruTech Connect panel to learn more about strategic undergrounding as a possible solution for fire risk mitigation.