With Forecast of Strong El Niño, PG&E Readies Its Winter Storm Response
SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 14, 2015 (BUSINESS WIRE) — With weather forecasts indicating the intensity of El Niño-driven storms will be strong this winter in California, PG&E has been getting ready – for the past 18 years.
The last major El Niño storm season in 1997-1998 dumped twice the normal rainfall on San Francisco, created widespread flooding and caused power outages impacting more than a million customers. PG&E has been preparing for storms like those by practicing for extreme-weather events and natural disasters; using advanced meteorology tools to forecast where storm impacts will be most significant; and adding innovative technology to its electrical grid.
New technology includes the use of storm outage prediction models, the installation of automated equipment that “self-heals” the electric grid as well as timely and accurate outage data from its network of more than 5 million electric SmartMeters™. In addition, the increasingly smart grid means outages can be detected almost instantaneously and restoration, in many cases, can be done automatically.
“A combination of preparedness, practice and technology has PG&E ready to respond to winter storms. We put our focus on public safety and on efficiently responding to customer outages,” said Barry Anderson, PG&E’s vice president of Emergency Preparedness and Operations.
“With these advanced forecasting and outage-prediction tools, we can work with our electric crews to make sure we have the right numbers of people, vehicles and equipment in the right place at the right time as storms hit,” said Mike Voss, PG&E’s principal meteorologist.