Nevada utility NV Energy said it is implementing a series of new measures to mitigate the risk of its system causing wildfires, including line de-energizations similar as those being used in California.
No single factor will drive the “public safety outage management” program events, the company said, but to be considered are weather conditions, the amount of vegetation that can act as fuel, wind gusts and speed, the location of existing fires and information from first responders. The possibly affected areas include the eastern side of Lake Tahoe in Nevada, and NV Energy’s Northern California transmission system, which serves local utilities. NV Energy did not respond to a request for information on which local utilities would be affected.
“We are working to harden our electric grid to help reduce fire risk through efforts that include increasing vegetation management cycles, replacing wood poles with metal and installing wildfire alert cameras in high fire-risk areas,” NV Energy Vice President of Energy Supply Kevin Geraghty said in a written statement. “While those are long-term strategies to help reduce the impacts of climate change, PSOM is something that can be done immediately in response to environmental conditions to help prevent wildfires and protect our community.”
Las Vegas-based NV Energy said it has been working with customers, local emergency agencies and government entities to determine how to best minimize the impact of PSOM events. It will contact customers at least 48 hours in advance, if possible, of any event and provide ongoing updates through news media, social media and its website.
SB 329, signed by Gov. Steve Sisolak in May, directed NV Energy to submit a natural disaster protection plan, including proactive de-energization of power lines, the company said.