Serving the energy industry for over 30 years
By - Jon Brown

2020 Wildfire Mitigation for Utilities Conference
June 16-17, 2020 | Online :: Pacific Time

Download PDFPrint Event Details
 

Overview

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.

Learning Outcomes

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

Credits

AP_Logo

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.

Instructional Methods

Case Studies, Panel Discussions and PowerPoint presentations will be used in the program.

Agenda

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 – 9:30 a.m. :: 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.

Moderator: Caroline Thomas-Jacobs, Director, Wildfire Safety Division, California Public Utilities Commission

David Morton, Chair and CEO, British Columbia Utilities Commission

Letha Tawney, Commissioner, Oregon Public Utility Commission

9:30 – 9:45 a.m. :: Q & A

9:45 – 10:00 a.m. :: Break


10:00 – 10:30 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  

10:30 – 10:45 a.m. :: Q & A

10:45 – 11:00 a.m. :: Break


11:00 – 11:30 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

11:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. :: Break

11:45 a.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)

Scott Rogers, Chief Technology Officer, Environmental Consultants (ECI)

Skyler Ditchfield, CEO and Co-Founder, GeoLinks

Graham Kent, Professor, Alert Wildfire Program, University of Nevada

Dean McCormick, Regional Channel Manager, 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 impacts can be mitigated to reduce customer impacts.  

 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

Samuel Salmenlinna, COO, Ai4 Technologies

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

Climate change is provoking extreme weather events, and to help mitigate and adapt to climate change impacts, utilities are looking towards innovative tools to improve forecasts of extreme weather-related risks to the grid.  Underlying data needs to be collected and analyzed to be better prepared for events before they occur. This presentation will include best practices using weather data, model output data, decision-support tools, and Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) cameras to mitigate fire risk in particular. Dive into a solution-driven conversation on how advances in climate science, big data, and machine learning are coming together to predict threats and vulnerabilities to the electricity system.

Chris Arends, Meteorology Program Manager, San Diego Gas & Electric

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

Workshop

Wildfire Financial Risk Management for Utilities

Wednesday,  June 17 2020

Overview

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.

Learning Outcomes

  • 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

Agenda

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

There are three major categories of wildfire costs: grid resilience, community resilience, and suppression activities. How should budgets be allocated to address direct costs, regional costs, and societal perspectives?

Michael Wara, Director, Climate and Energy Policy Program & Senior Research Scholar, Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University

2:30 – 2:50 p.m. :: Suppression Cost

Jose Sanchez, PhD, Research Economist, US Forest Service


2:50  – 3:15 p.m. :: Insurance

With the increased frequency and severity of wildfires in the West, insurance is in the spotlight. Increasing wildfire risk has affected property and casualty insurance markets, impacting the stability of insurance markets and the affordability and availability of insurance to individuals and businesses. Insurance regulators have been playing a primary role in helping address these complex dynamics. How will the insurance markets help or hinder our response to wildfires, and what role can we expect insurance to play in the future in addressing wildfire costs?

Sean Hecht, Co-Executive Director, Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, UCLA Law School

3:15 – 3:30 p.m. :: Short Break


3:30 – 4:15 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 fund work, and what is its status as California is heading into the next wildfire season?

Glenn Pomeroy, CEO, California Earthquake Authority – Interim Administrator of California Wildfire Fund

4:15 – 4:45 p.m  :: Q&A and Recap: Moving Forward to Manage Wildfire Risk


4:45 p.m. :: Workshop Adjourns

 

Speakers

Chris Arends, Meteorology Program Manager, San Diego Gas & Electric

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

Scott Rogers, Chief Technology Officer, Environmental Consultants (ECI)

Dave Sapsis, Wildfire Scientist, California Department Of Forestry And Fire Protection

Samuel Salmenlinna, COO, Ai4 Technologies

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

Online Delivery

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.

Register

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

If you are unable to attend at the scheduled date and time, we make recordings available to all registrants for three business days after the event

Muni, Coop, Government Rate employees qualify for a reduced rate

Event Standard RateAttendees
Proceedings package US $ 395.00
Sponsors

By clicking Accept or closing this message, you consent to our cookies on this device in accordance with our cookie policy unless you have disabled them. more information

By clicking Accept or closing this message, you consent to our cookies on this device in accordance with our cookie policy unless you have disabled them. You can change your cookie settings at any time but parts of our site will not function correctly without them. We use cookies during the registration process and to remember member settings.

Close