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SCE insulating power lines to prepare for wildfire season

SCE Powerlines
An SCE lineman in a bucket truck during a covered conductor installation.Credit: ENERGIZED

Southern California Edison (SCE), an electric utility company based in California, announced that it will begin insulating power lines in Valencia in preparation for the wildfire season. The work has been deemed critical and the utility said the crews will practice physical distancing during while doing the installations.

Six spans of bare wire will be replaced with covered conductor near the I-5 Freeway. This insulation will help prevent power line damage during extreme weather.

“We’re in the field every day adhering to the physical distancing requirement while working on high-voltage power lines,” said Willie Rios, an SCE foreman. “We’re still able to follow all safety and health guidelines by bringing in an extra bucket truck to keep the proper distance away.”

“It’s really important that we maintain the grid right now because first responders, hospitals and supermarkets are relying on electricity,” Rios added.

More than 25% of SCE’s service area is in high fire risk areas; therefore, wildfire mitigation tools, such as insulated wire, is important to the grid’s security.

The company filed its Wildlife Mitigation Plan with the California Public Utilities Commission in February and SCE will continue to bring harden infrastructure, bolster situational awareness and enhance operational practices to keep communities safe.

“Southern California Edison is deferring noncritical work while moving forward with critical work to manage public safety and imminent reliability issues, reduce the risk of wildfires and the scale of Public Safety Power Shutoff events during wildfire season and keep our communities safe,” said Pedro Pizarro, president and CEO of Edison International, the parent company of SCE.