Oregon electric utilities file first state-required wildfire mitigation plans with PUC
SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) – Oregon’s electric utilities have filed their first state-required wildfire mitigation plans, designed to prevent and mitigate wildfire risk, with the the Oregon Public Utilities Commission, the agency announced on Friday.
The WMPs are the first to be filed since the passage of Senate Bill 762 in the 2021 legislative session, requiring plans for all electric utilities providing service in Oregon.
Senate Bill 762 established formal standards for electric utility wildfire mitigation plans, including what information utilities must include.
Plans should identify high wildfire risk areas within the utility’s service territory and actions to minimize those risks, as well as protocols for implementing power outages for public safety. Utilities should also describe how they determined which risk reduction strategies to pursue.
The bill required the three investor-owned utilities that are regulated by the PUC to submit their plans to the PUC by the end of 2021 and for the PUC to approve them within 180 days of their submission.
Other Oregon electric utilities that are not regulated by the PUC, which includes cooperatives, people’s utility districts and municipalities, have submitted their plans for approval to their local utility governing body before to be filed with the PUC.
“Wildfire mitigation plans demonstrate a lot of work to meet community needs and keep pace with changing wildfire risk,” said PUC Commissioner Letha Tawney.
Utility plans to implement public safety power cuts are included in water management plans. A PSPS is a measure of last resort to help keep people and communities safe in high fire risk areas by proactively shutting off power during extreme and hazardous weather conditions when energized power lines could be damaged and ignite a rapid forest fire.
“As we anticipate above average temperatures next week, we appreciate that Oregon’s electric utilities have gone through the planning process to prepare for a potential PSPS,” Commissioner Tawney added. “No utility uses a PSPS lightly, but their implementation plans are designed to help keep Oregonians informed and safe during extreme fire weather.”
Be prepared for the 2022 wildfire season and potential PSPS events
- Sign up to receive alerts from official sources. Download the FEMA app and receive real-time alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five locations nationwide. Also sign up for emergency notifications from your city and/or county, as well as outage alerts from your electric utility provider.
- Make an emergency plan and make sure everyone in your household knows and understands what to do in the event of an evacuation.
- Create a safety circle around your home, which is a defensible fuel-free space that can help reduce the risk of fire. Visit Keep Oregon Green for more information.
Prepare for a potential power outage/PSPS event:
- Be Prepared for Two Weeks – Gather food, medical supplies, batteries, pet supplies, and more needed by family members during an outage or evacuation for up to two weeks. Learn more about supplies to consider.
- For those with a medical condition requiring electricity, please contact your service provider prior to an outage to register a medical certificate. This certification provides additional benefits and helps the utility ensure that it meets your needs in the event of an outage. Also consider a backup generator or alternate location for electrical needs.
- Keep cell phones fully charged in case of an outage. Consider a car charger for cell phones and other electronic devices.
- Make sure your utility provider has up-to-date contact information for notifications by updating your account online.
During a power outage:
- Contact your electricity supplier to inform them of an outage. Avoid downed power lines at all costs.
- Stay away from utility crews working to restore service to your community.
- Use battery-operated flashlights or lanterns for emergency lighting. Do not use candles or other potential fire hazards.
- Turn off lights and unplug electrical appliances except refrigerator and freezer to prevent system surge when service is restored. After turning off all the lights, turn on a light to know when power has been restored.
- Use Generators Safely – Do not operate the generator inside the home or garage or anywhere near a window or vent, as these spaces can capture lethal levels of carbon monoxide. carbon. Find out more about the proper use of a generator to avoid hazardous conditions.
- Check in on elderly neighbors or people with special needs who might need extra help.
- Find creative ways to stay cool, including closing blinds and curtains, keeping the hottest rooms closed, staying hydrated, visiting the local pool, using a battery-powered fan, and avoiding going upstairs. ‘stage.
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The PUC regulates rates and service to customers of electric and natural gas utilities owned by state investors, including PGE, Idaho Power, Pacific Power, Avista, Cascade Natural, and NW Natural. The PUC also regulates landline providers and some water companies. PUC’s mission is to ensure that Oregonians have access to safe, reliable, and fairly priced public services that advance state policy and promote the public interest. We use an inclusive process to evaluate different viewpoints and visions of the public interest and arrive at balanced, well-reasoned and independent decisions supported by facts and laws. For more information on the PUC, visit oregon.gov/puc.