San Francisco: PG&E Supports Fire Department with $250,000 Birthday Gift

By Paul Doherty

PG&E helped celebrate the San Francisco Fire Department’s 150th birthday with a $250,000 contribution today (April 18).

At a kickoff event in Union Square this morning, PG&E also helped customers be prepared for the next big earthquake by donating 110 emergency kits to local residents. April 18 marks the 110th anniversary of the Great Earthquake of 1906 in San Francisco.

“The San Francisco Fire Department has been an integral partner with PG&E in San Francisco since our founding. When disaster strikes, courageous men and women of the SFFD and PG&E show up together, ready to keep our customers and communities safe. They define what it means to be a first responder, and we’re proud to extend our support to their city-wide 150th birthday celebrations,” said PG&E’s Barry Anderson, vice president of electric distribution.

PG&E plays a crucial role in providing support to first responders during emergencies by minimizing power and gas outages and safely restoring service.

“PG&E does everything possible to minimize power and gas outages, and we have a plan to restore electricity and natural gas service safely and as quickly as possible in the event of an earthquake. It is equally important for all of our customers to have a plan and an emergency kit,” said Anderson.

April is Earthquake Preparedness Month, and just as PG&E plans and prepares for natural disasters, such as a large earthquake, the company urges its customers to do the same. Customers should prepare and maintain an emergency preparedness kit with enough supplies on hand to be self-sufficient for at least three days, and preferably up to one week.

PG&E’s successful disaster response has been and will be based upon three guiding principles: preparedness, asset resiliency, and technology.

Preparedness

PG&E regularly prepares for and practices its emergency response to earthquakes through company exercises and drills with local first responders. This past May, the company held its largest exercise of this kind including more than 750 employees and 24 emergency centers throughout its service area. Another large-scale exercise is planned for June.

Asset resiliency

PG&E made more than $5.5 billion in capital investments to its natural gas and electric infrastructure in 2015 alone, including seismic strengthening of key assets, the replacement of electric transmission and distribution equipment, removal of cast-iron and steel pipeline updated with modern plastic pipeline, and the consolidation of 15 electric distribution control centers into three state-of-the-art facilities that serve as one virtual control center. Since 1989, PG&E has replaced and anchored more than 100 substation transformers to higher seismic specifications.

Technology

In recent years, PG&E has made substantial investments in damage-modeling technology which helps the company develop resiliency plans, estimate resource needs and identify where potential impacts could occur.

  • PG&E utilizes open-source software, such as ShakeCast, as well as PG&E-developed earthquake damage-modeling systems, such as DASH (Dynamic Automated Seismic Hazard), to determine the potential location of the most severe equipment damage and to prioritize where to dispatch assessment and repair crews.
  • The company is currently beta-testing ShakeAlert, an earthquake early warning system developed by The U.S. Geological Survey and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services along with a coalition of university partners, to identify potential applications. This will allow both automated and human actions in the seconds before an earthquake, which will protect lives, lessen property damage, minimize sustained power outages and ensure rapid service restoration.

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