PG&E achieves second-best reliability year ever in 2016

An unruly El Niño did not stop Pacific Gas & Electric from delivering its second best year ever, reliability-wise, in 2016, the San Francisco-based utility reported this week.

The average PG&E customer experienced one outage during the year. The average duration of power outages was 109 minutes, up from the all-time record low 96 minutes in 2015 but still the utility’s second-best total in history.

“It’s our job to provide safe and reliable power to our customers, and I’m proud to say that that is exactly what the men and women of PG&E delivered in 2016,” Pat Hogan, senior vice president of PG&E Electric Operations, said in a statement. “The hard work of our employees coupled with the investments we continue to make to create a smarter, more reliable grid benefit all of us.”

PG&E’s average outage duration has improved 35 percent over the past decade. The slight decline in 2016 was attributed to stormy El Niño weather early in the year.

The interruptions averaged 1.46 per customer and lasted 196 minutes in 2006 and have been on a downward trend since then, according to reports. Since 2012, PG&E has installed advanced automated technology on 25 percent of its electrical distribution circuits, which the company says helped it avoid more than 160 million customer outage minutes.

The utility also has opened three new electric distribution control centers since 2014. Those facilities manage more than 140,000 miles of distribution power lines throughout northern and central California.

In the last five years, PG&E has invested $15 billion to enhance and harden its electric transmission and distribution system assets.

The record low outage duration in 2015 was the seventh straight year of improved reliability, PG&E has previously reported.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at

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