Members of the California Wildfire Safety Advisory Board visited California public power utility Truckee Donner Public Utility District on Oct. 2.
They learned about public power utilities and what it takes for a smaller utility to mitigate wildfires. The service territory for TDPUD is almost entirely in the high wildfire threat area, so wildfire mitigation and vegetation management are a major focus of the utility.
One of the operating changes TDPUD makes each wildfire season is to place all reclosers on “one shot.” When there is a fault in a circuit, from something like a tree branch or animal, the circuit opens and power shuts off.
This prevents sparks from igniting underbrush. The utility also coordinates with local fire and municipal agencies in the region for planning, emergency operations, and regional communication.
“It was a pleasure to host board and staff from the California Wildfire Advisory Safety Board and Cal Fire for a tour of our facilities in Truckee,” said Truckee Donner PUD’s General Manager Brian Wright.
“We are very appreciative of the opportunity to sit down and discuss, in an informal setting, our investment strategies in wildfire mitigation and system reliability, through the lens of providing value and safety to our community,” he said.
“I was particularly thankful for the opportunity to frame the discussions in the context of public power. It is important to understand that we have strong connections with our community through robust public outreach and local governance. Understanding our community’s priorities, we have invested heavily in wildfire mitigation and system reliability for many years and continue to evaluate all options in enhancing our efforts to mitigate risk in our Sierra Nevada home.”
Presenting to the California Wildfire Safety Advisory Board was Wright, Jared Carpenter, electric utility director, and Barry Moline, CMUA executive director.
TDPUD staff led tours of wildfire mitigation projects for the board. Also included on the tour were representatives of NCPA and SCPPA.