2020 Wildfire Mitigation for Utilities Conference
June 16-17, 2020 | Online :: Pacific Time
This is an Online Conference. In lieu of recent developments with COVID-19, for the health and safety of our speakers and attendees, we have decided to move many of our events Online .
In the West, wildfires are increasing in both frequency and severity, and electrical companies operating in wildfire-prone areas face significant risks. Utilities must take measures to reduce exposure and mitigate financial liability.
Join this online summit to participate as utility personnel from Western states collaborate and discuss:
- Infrastructure Enhancements to Reduce Risk of Wildfires
- Key Objectives of Utility Wildfire Mitigation Plans
- Regulatory Views of Proposed Mitigation Plans
- De-energization to Minimize Risk
- Wildland-Urban Interface and Challenges of Vegetation Management
The post-event workshop will focus on financial risk management. Recent catastrophic wildfires attributed to utilities have caused billions of dollars in property damage, leading to increased costs for utilities, credit downgrades, and bankruptcy. This workshop will detail the complicated issues surrounding utilities and the costs associated with wildfire risks.
At EUCI’s online Wildfire Mitigation for Utilities Symposium, utility and industry professionals, wildfire experts, and thought leaders from across the West will inform and engage each other about the challenges of wildfires and share their best practices and lessons learned, as well as sharing cutting-edge technology that can help us better manage these disasters.
This online conference will provide attendees an opportunity to:
- Discuss how to collaborate with customers, community groups, federal agencies and other stakeholders to stay ahead of impending disasters
- Demonstrate best practices on how to prepare official wildfire mitigation plans
- Discuss strategies for grid hardening, situational awareness, & vegetation management
- Identify lessons learned from case studies of recent wildfires
- Explore new and traditional ways of forecasting and planning for wildfire risk
- Recognize pros and cons of PSPS (Public Safety Power Shut-Off) events and how COVID-19 has affected these events
- Demonstrate how to be proactive in wildfire planning and prevention
EUCI has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET). In obtaining this accreditation, EUCI has demonstrated that it complies with the ANSI/IACET Standard which is recognized internationally as a standard of good practice. As a result of their Authorized Provider status, EUCI is authorized to offer IACET CEUs for its programs that qualify under the ANSI/IACET Standard.
EUCI is authorized by IACET to offer 0.9 CEUs for this conference and 0.2 CEUs for the workshop.
Requirements for Successful Completion of Program
Participants must be in attendance for the entirety of the course to be eligible for continuing education credit.
Case Studies, Panel Discussions and PowerPoint presentations will be used in the program.
Tuesday, June 16, 2020
7:45 – 8:00 a.m. :: Log in
8:00 – 8:05 a.m. :: Welcome Remarks and Introduction
8:05 – 8:30 a.m. :: Keynote Address
Caroline Thomas-Jacobs, Director, Wildfire Safety Division, California Public Utilities Commission
8:30 – 10:00 a.m. :: Panel Discussion: Regulatory View of Proposed Mitigation Plans: Key Objectives
As climate change and wildfires continue to dominate policy discussions in much of the West, utilities are designing mitigation plans to prevent electric equipment-related fires, improve resiliency of regional grids, and keep customers safe. Policymakers are examining these plans and recommending solutions. This panel brings together regulators from various states and British Columbia to discuss the key objectives they are looking for in comprehensive utility mitigation plans.
Eric Anderson, Commissioner, Idaho Public Utilities Commission
David Morton, Chair and CEO, British Columbia Utilities Commission
Caroline Thomas-Jacobs, Director, Wildfire Safety Division, California Public Utilities Commission
10:00 – 10:15 a.m. :: Q & A
10:15 – 10:45 a.m. :: Infrastructure Enhancements to Reduce Risk of Wildfires
What pole risk mitigation and wire safety enhancement programs will be most effective, and what are the costs and time allotment for these efforts? What are the barriers utilities face in these efforts? And what are the best practices for operational fire prevention with employees, facilities, and culture change relative to daily operations? This presentation will outline infrastructure improvements that can help in the mitigation of wildfires.
Mark Regan, Wildfire Specialist, NV Energy
10:45 – 11:00 a.m. :: Q & A
11:00 – 11:15 a.m. :: Break
11:15 – 11:45 a.m. :: Wildfire Risk and Grid Resilience
Utilities in fire-prone regions are working to minimize risk of infrastructure causing catastrophic events. This session will cover integration efforts in operations, situational awareness, and customer outreach as implemented by San Diego Gas & Electric.
Brian D’Agostino, Director, Fire Science & Climate Adaptation, San Diego Gas & Electric
11:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. :: Break
12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. :: Lunch Break
1:30 – 3:00 p.m. :: Technological Enhancements and Tools for Utilities
This session will be a showcase featuring a series of presentations and/or case studies spotlighting the latest tech and tools available for utilities that will simplify forecasting, operational decision-making, and modeling fire behavior.
Ryan Brockbank, COO and Senior VP, Consulting Services at Environmental Consultants (ECI)
Skyler Ditchfield, CEO and Co-Founder, GeoLinks
Dean McCormick, Head: Smart Monitoring Solution, Hexagon Geospatial
3:00 – 3:15 p.m. :: Q & A
3:15 – 3:30 p.m. :: Break
3:30 – 4:30 p.m. :: Panel Discussion: Wildland–Urban Interface and Challenges of Vegetation Management
Increased development in the wildland urban interface (WUI) has resulted in higher fire risk and more suppression needs, costing billions every year. Vegetation management is a critical issue. It is one of the largest expense items associated with maintaining overhead transmission and distribution systems. NERC sets vegetation management requirements for transmission, but clearance requirements differ from state to state. This panel brings together WUI and vegetation management experts to discuss best practices for these critical steps in wildfire mitigation.
Barnie Gyant, Deputy Regional Forester, US Forest Service
Jessica Morse, Deputy Secretary of Forest Resources Management, California Natural Resources Agency
Dave Sapsis, Wildfire Scientist, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
4:30 p.m. :: Day 1 Adjourns
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
7:45 – 8:00 a.m. :: Log in
8:00 – 8:05 a.m. :: Welcome Remarks
8:05 – 8:30 a.m. :: De-energization to Minimize Wildfire Risk
Investor-owned utilities in California have general authority to shut off electric power to protect public safety under state law. Utilities have exercised this authority as a last resort through Public Safety Power Shut-offs. This presentation will discuss how de-energization can be implemented without increasing public safety concerns, since communication and essential services are based on electricity.
Jonathan Woldemariam, Director of Wildfire & Vegetation Management, San Diego Gas & Electric
8:30 – 8:35 p.m. :: Q & A
8:35 – 9:45 a.m. :: Operational Fire Prevention
Many utilities are making technological enhancements to minimize the threat of wildfires, but operational procedures, supplemental inspection, and maintenance work is imperative as well. What are the latest developments and best practices?
Session 1: Real Time Intelligent Remote Sensing in Wildfire Mitigation
Tero Heinonen, CEO , Ai4 Technologies
Joe Purohit, CEO, Tree Asset Manager
Eric Woodyard, CEO, Innoventum Consulting
Session 2: Data-driven Fire Mitigation & Suppression
Jeffrey Baxter, Senior Director of Research & Development, Erickson
9:45 – 10:10 a.m. :: Case Study: PG&E
Matthew Pender, Director, Community Wildfire Safety Program, Pacific Gas and Electric Company
10:10 – 10:15 a.m. :: Q & A
10:15 – 10:20 a.m. :: Break
10:20 -10:50 a.m. :: Situational Awareness Strategies
In order to identify effective infrastructure hardening, VM, and other wildfire mitigation-related programs, underlying data needs to be collected and analyzed to ensure successful implementation. This insight into system conditions and environmental conditions allow utilities to be better prepared for events before they occur. This presentation will include best practices for use of PTZ cameras, drones, and other tools.
Koko Tomassian, Safety Enforcement Division, California Public Utilities Commission (invited)
10:50 – 11:00 a.m. :: Q & A
11:00 – 11:30 a.m. :: Communication Strategies Before and After Catastrophic Events
In May 2018, Seattle City Light was awarded a Public Education award for it’s five-year plan for wildfire mitigation. The plan was created through collaboration of local emergency management experts, community members, climate adaptation specialists, and City Light employees. This presentation will demonstrate how this plan proved to be successful, and how they are planning to increase awareness in the future.
Cody Watson, Fire Brigade Chief, Seattle City Light
11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. :: Open Q&A: Tech and Tools
12:00 p.m. :: Conference Adjourns
Wildfire Financial Risk Management for Utilities
Wednesday, June 17 2020
Recent catastrophic wildfires caused by utilities have caused billions of dollars in property damage. These damages will lead to increased costs for utilities, which could be passed on to ratepayers. The potential of increased costs associated with wildfire risks has affected the credit markets, leading to one IOU (Pacific Gas and Electric) declaring bankruptcy, as well as credit downgrades for other utilities. These credit downgrades make securing financing for capital investments more difficult, which could also lead to cost increases for ratepayers. POUs and cooperatives also face financial crisis. In most cases POUs are unable to shift the burden of their liability threat, causing costs to be born by ratepayers. This workshop will detail the complicated issues surrounding utilities and the costs associated with wildfire risks.
- Discover how to collaborate with financial experts and insurers to minimize increased costs for utilities
- Demonstrate best practices on how to secure financing for capital investments during difficult times
- Identify options for offloading financial risk to insurers and capital markets
- Discuss strategies for minimizing risk to ratepayers while providing affordable service
- Develop a deep understanding of current legislation including Bill 1054 and get an overview of proposed litigation
1:45 -1:55 p.m. :: Login
1:55 – 2:00 p.m. :: Welcome Remarks
2:00 – 2:30 p.m. :: The Cost of Wildfires
When utilities are found to be a cause of a fire, they can be required to pay for property damage, suppression expenditures incurred by government entities, and other economic and natural resource damages. How can utilities minimize risk to ratepayers and continue to provide affordable service?
Sean Hecht, Co-Executive Director, Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, UCLA Law School
2:30 – 2:45 p.m. :: Q & A
2:45 – 3:15 p.m. :: Insurance
With the increased frequency and severity of wildfires in the West, utilities must struggle with insurance costs that are significantly higher than a few years ago. In the volatile environment of credit rating downgrades and higher financing costs for utilities, how can utilities offload more wildfire financial risk to insurers and capital markets?
Joel Laucher, Senior Advisor, California Department f Insurance (invited)
3:15 – 3:20 p.m. :: Q & A
3:20 – 3:30 p.m. :: Afternoon Break
4:00 – 4:30 p.m. :: Legislation
In California, Assembly Bill 1054 was passed as an urgency statute for stabilization, establishing a $21 billion wildfire fund which electrical corporations may access upon meeting specified requirements. Half of that money comes from utilities, the other half is funded by ratepayers. How does the plan help or hurt long-term financial viability for utilities?
Glenn Pomeroy, CEO California Earthquake Authority – Interim Administrator of California Wildfire Fund
4:30 – 5:00 p.m. :: Review and Q&A: Moving Forward to Manage Wildfire Risk
Sean Hecht, Co-Director, Emmet Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA Law School
Glenn Pomeroy, CEO, California Earthquake Authority – Interim Administrator of California Wildfire Fund
Senior Representative, California Department of Insurance
- Eric Anderson, Commissioner, Idaho Public Utilities Commission
- Skyler Ditchfield, CEO and Co-Founder, GeoLinks
- Brian D’Agostino, Director, Fire Science & Climate Adaptation, San Diego Gas & Electric
- Barnie Gyant, Deputy Regional Forester, US Forest Service
- Sean Hecht, Co-Executive Director, Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, UCLA Law School
- Tero Heinonen, CEO, Ai4 Technologies
- Senior Representative, California Department Insurance
- Dean McCormick, Head: Smart Monitoring Solution, Hexagon Geospatial
- Jessica Morse, Deputy Secretary of Forest Resources Management, California Natural Resources Agency
- David Morton, Chair and CEO, British Columbia Utilities Commission
- Matthew Pender, Director, Community Wildfire Safety Program, Pacific Gas & Electric
- Kirsten Petersen, Senior Engineer, San Diego Gas & Electric
- Glenn Pomeroy, CEO California Earthquake Authority – Interim Administrator of California Wildfire Fund
- Mark Regan, Wildfire Specialist, NV Energy
- Dave Sapsis, Wildfire Scientist, California Department Of Forestry And Fire Protection
- Caroline Thomas-Jacobs, Director, Wildfire Safety Division, California Public Utilities Commission
- Koko Tomassian, Safety Enforcement Division, California Public Utilities Commission (invited)
- Cody Watson, Fire Brigade Chief, Seattle City Light
- Jonathan Woldemariam, Director of Wildfire & Vegetation Management, San Diego Gas & Electric
Our courses are designed to be the best possible use of your valuable time – get the information you need to improve your position in the market in an interactive, dynamic format.
We will be using Microsoft Teams to facilitate your participation in the upcoming event. You do not need to have an existing Teams account in order to participate in the broadcast – the course will play in your browser and you will have the option of using a microphone to speak with the room and ask questions, or type any questions in via the chat window and our on-site representative will relay your question to the instructor.
- You will receive a meeting invitation will include a link to join the meeting.
- Separate meeting invitations will be sent for the morning and afternoon sessions of the course.
- You will need to join the appropriate meeting at the appropriate time.
- If you are using a microphone, please ensure that it is muted until such time as you need to ask a question.
- The remote meeting connection will be open approximately 30 minutes before the start of the course. We encourage you to connect as early as possible in case you experience any unforeseen problems.
Please Note: Confirmed speakers do not need to register and are encouraged to participate in all sessions of the event. If you are a speaker and have any questions please contact our offices at 1.303.770.8800
Please Note: This event is being conducted entirely online. All attendees will connect and attend from their computer, one connection per purchase. For details please see our FAQ
Muni, Coop, Government Rate employees qualify for a reduced rate
|2020 Wildfire Mitigation for Utilities Conference - (single connection)||US $ 1295.00|
|For volume discounts call +1.303.770.8800 for quote|
|* all other discounts do not apply to license packs|
This event has the following workshops:
|Wildfire Financial Risk Management for Utilities||US $ 495.00
Take advantage of these discounts!
- Attend the Conference and workshop and pay US $ 1,695.00 per attendee (save US $ 95.00 each)