Ambitious Program Ramps Up and Proves It Can Scale Up to Reach Its Goal
OAKLAND, Calif. – Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) announced today that it has successfully completed the construction and energization of most underground powerlines in its history, a key milestone in preventing wildfires and protecting customers.
As of Oct. 30, 197 miles of powerlines have been undergrounded and energized so far in 2023.
That tops the 180 miles of underground in 2022 and the 73 miles in 2021, the year that PG&E’s 10,000-mile Undergrounding Program was launched.
The end-of-the-year target for 2023 is 350 miles.
Undergrounding essentially eliminates nearly 98% of the risk of wildfire ignition from electrical
equipment for about $3.40 per month per customer from 2023-2026.
Last month, the utility said 350 miles of digging trenches and installing conduit, the piping that
securely holds the electric lines in place when the underground, has been completed. That’s the
most time- and labor-intensive portion of underground construction.
After that civil construction work is completed, electric crews arrive to pull powerlines through
the conduit, make the necessary electrical connections, de-energize the overhead lines and
energize the underground lines. The final steps include removing the overhead lines and poles in
some cases and then completing paving and other work to leave the location in as good or
better than it was before the construction.
‘Look at the results’
On average, about 20 more miles of undergrounded line will be energized each week through
the end of the year. PG&E customers in Placerville (El Dorado County), Murphys (Calaveras
County), Elk Creek (Glenn County) and Potter Valley (Mendocino County) are among those now
being served and protected by underground powerlines.
“For those who questioned PG&E’s capability to scale up our Undergrounding Program, our
the answer is simple – look at the results,” said Peter Kenny, PG&E’s Senior Vice President of
Major Infrastructure Delivery, which includes undergrounding. “By the end of this year, we’ll
have safely installed over 600 miles of powerlines underground since the program launched in
2 Public 2021. This demonstrates we can successfully perform this important work while doing it at a
lower cost year over year.”
Undergrounding is cheaper for customers in the long run
Investing in undergrounding in the highest fire-risk areas benefits all PG&E customers in a
number of ways — from improved air and water quality resulting from fewer fires; to protection of
wildlands; and over the long run, improved access to homeowners’ insurance coverage at lower
Expanding PG&E’s electric system underground in High Fire-Risk Areas (HFRAs) will not only
help reduce wildfires caused by utility equipment but also will improve reliability and reduce the
need for safety-related power outages. Undergrounding reduces the need for tree work and
overhead powerline maintenance, resulting in customer savings.
Go to www.pge.com/undergrounding to see PG&E’s progress and learn more about this crucial
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Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE: PCG), is a
combined natural gas and electric utility serving more than 16 million people across 70,000
square miles in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit pge.com and pge.com/news.