By - Jon Brown

2021 Wildfire Mitigation for Utilities – Western Region
April 8-9, 2021 | Online :: Pacific Time

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Overview

The 2020 wildfire season has raged across the West. In California, fires engulfed nearly 4.2 million acres. In Oregon, more than a million acres have burned. In Washington State, more acres have burned in 2020 than in each of the past 12 fire seasons.  Utilities have had to navigate the demands of the pandemic while mitigating fire risk to safely deliver reliable energy. Wildfires continue to increase in both frequency and severity. Scientists, weather forecasters, and environmentalists are working to develop innovative techniques to apply to a changing wildfire landscape. Electrical companies operating in wildfire-prone areas will continue to face significant risks. Utilities must take measures to reduce exposure and mitigate financial liability.

This online summit will bring together utility personnel from Western states to collaborate and discuss:

  • Infrastructure Enhancements to Reduce Risk of Wildfires
  • Key Objectives of Utility Wildfire Mitigation Plans
  • Regulatory Views of Mitigation Plans
  • De-energization to Minimize Risk
  • Wildland-Urban Interface and Challenges of Vegetation Management

At EUCI’s virtual 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 share cutting-edge technology that can help us better manage these disasters.

Learning Outcomes

This virtual summit will provide attendees an opportunity to:

  • Examine the regulatory view of wildfire mitigation plans within Western states and British Columbia
  • Review best practices on how to prepare wildfire mitigation plans
  • Develop strategies for grid hardening
  • Discuss Situational Awareness Strategies so that utilities can be prepared for wildfire events
  • Examine the challenges of Wildland-Urban Interface and vegetation management
  • Identify lessons learned from 2020 fire season case studies
  • Explore new and traditional ways of forecasting and planning for wildfire risk
  • Discover new technological advancements and tools for wildfire mitigation
  • Demonstrate how to be proactive in wildfire planning and prevention

Credits

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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 1.0 CEUs for this event and 0.3 CEUs for the workshop.

 

Requirements for Successful Completion of Program

Participants must log in each day and be in attendance for the entirety of the event to be eligible for continuing education credit.

Instructional Methods

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

Who Should Attend

Individuals working in the following areas will benefit from attending this event:

  • Electric Utility Leaders
  • Utility Risk Management Professionals
  • Utility Grid Planning and Operations Specialists
  • Utility Transmission and Field Services Personnel
  • State and Federal Agencies
  • Mitigation Specialists
  • Policy makers
  • Researchers
  • Corporate Communications Specialists
  • Insurers
  • Consultants
  • Fire Prevention & Mitigation Technology Providers

Agenda

Thursday, April 8, 2021 : Pacific Time

8:00 – 8:15 a.m. :: Log In

8:15 a.m. – 4:45 p.m. :: Conference Timing

8:15 – 8:30 a.m. :: Welcome Remarks


8:30 – 9:45 a.m. :: Regulatory View of Mitigation Plans: Key Objectives

This panel brings together regulators from various states and British Columbia to discuss the key objectives they are looking for in 2021 utility wildfire mitigation plans.

Mark Thompson, Commissioner, Oregon Public Utilities Commission

David Morton, Chair and CEO, British Columbia Utilities Commission

Dave Danner, Chairman, Washington Utilities & Transportation Commission

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

9:45 – 10:00 a.m. :: Morning Break


10:00 – 11:00 a.m. :: Infrastructure Enhancements to Reduce Risk of Wildfires

This session will cover the enhancement programs that are most effective and the barriers utilities face in these efforts.

  • What pole risk mitigation and wire safety enhancement programs are most effective?
  • What are the costs and time allotment for these efforts?
  • What are the best practices for operational fire prevention with employees, facilities, and culture change relative to daily operations?

Mark Esguerra, Senior Director, Electric Asset Strategy, Pacific Gas & Electric

Brian Long, Director of System Sustainability, Xcel Energy


11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.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 IOU’s in the West.

Mark Mezta, Manager of Wildfire Resilience and Operations, San Diego Gas & Electric

12:15 – 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.

3:00 – 3:15 p.m. :: Afternoon Break


3:15 – 4:15 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, Associate Deputy Chief, National Forest System, U.S. Forest Service

Dave Sapsis, Chief Wildfire Scientist, Cal Fire

Jessica Morse, Deputy Secretary, Forest Resources Management, California Natural Resources


4:15 – 4:45 p.m. :: Open Q & A / Networking

4:45 p.m. :: Day 1 Adjourns


Friday, April 9, 2021 : Pacific Time

8:45 – 9:00 a.m. :: Log In

9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. :: Conference Timing

9:00 – 9:05 a.m. :: Welcome Remarks


9:05 – 10:00 a.m. :: Key Objectives of Utility Wildfire Mitigation Plans

It is imperative for utilities to develop a clear action plan for the upcoming fire season, and to ensure efforts are building toward increased resiliency. This session will detail objectives and goals for successful mitigation plans.

Matthew Pender, Director, Electric Operations Regulatory Strategy & Community Wildfire Safety Program PMO, Pacific Gas & Electric

Rajdeep Roy, Principal Manager, Transmission & Distribution, Wildfire Resiliency Oversight, Southern California Edison


10:00 – 11:00 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 enhancements must be addressed as well. What are the latest developments and best practices?

Randy Lyle, Principal, Wildfire Mitigation Strategies; Former Fire Coordinator, San Diego Gas & Electric


11:00 – 11:30 a.m. :: Case Study: PG&E

In this session, the leader of PG&E’s Wildfire Safety Program will detail their recently completed risk analysis for system hardening programs, details on 2020 improvements for PSPS events and lessons learned.

Matthew Pender, Director, Electric Operations Regulatory Strategy & Community Wildfire Safety Program PMO, Pacific Gas & Electric


11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.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, and decision-support tools to mitigate fire risk. 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.

Tom Rolinksi, Fire Scientist, Southern California Edison

12:30 p.m. :: Conference Adjourns

Workshop

Heatwaves & Wildfires – Contingency Planning

Friday, April 9, 2021 : Pacific Time

Overview

This workshop will detail the complicated issues surrounding PSPS events. Over the last decade, the western region of North America has seen record-breaking wildfires. These events have resulted in loss of life and billions of dollars of property and infrastructure damage. With the increasing threat of wildfire, utilities may proactively cut power to electrical lines to reduce the likelihood that their infrastructure could cause or contribute to a wildfire. However, a Public Safety Power Shutoff brings its own risks, particularly for vulnerable communities and individuals. Attend this workshop for a deep dive into PSPS issues, including lessons learned and best practices for implementation of de-energization, microgrid and resiliency solutions, and community and stakeholder engagement.

Learning Outcomes

  • Discover how to collaborate with external agencies, customers, and stakeholders for more successful implementation of PSPS
  • Detail lessons learned from the implementation of the largest PSPS events in California history
  • Identify options for microgrid deployment to minimize the impact of wildfire-related outages
  • Discuss resiliency strategies
  • Develop a deep understanding of current best practices for implementation and execution of PSPS events

Agenda

12:45 – 1:00 p.m. :: Log In

1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. :: Workshop Timing

1:00 – 2:00 p.m. :: Public Safety Power Shutoffs

Pacific Gas & Electric executed the largest PSPS events in California (and likely in utility history) and they made substantial improvements in 2020. This session will detail lessons learned and best practices for implementation of de-energization for wildfire mitigation.


2:00 – 3:00 p.m. :: Microgrid Deployment and Resiliency Solutions

In June 2020, The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) required large electric investor-owned utilities to accelerate deployment of microgrids and resiliency projects to minimize the impacts of wildfire-caused power outages and Public Safety Power Shut-off (PSPS) events. This session will detail the actions and programs that IOUs in the West have taken and how these resiliency strategies affected the 2020 fire season.

3:00 – 3:15 p.m. :: Short Break


3:15-4:30 p.m. :: Best Practices for Engagement & Collaboration for PSPS Events

While PSPS lowers the risk of wildfire ignitions from utility equipment, it also creates concerns, including customer disruptions, and other risks associated with the loss of power.  Utilities are implementing operational enhancements to improve the execution of PSPS.  This session will include best practices developed to integrate PSPS with federal emergency response doctrine and to provide more effective communications and better coordination with external agencies at various state, county and city levels.

4:30 p.m. :: Workshop Adjourns 

Workshop Speakers

  • Matthew Pender, Director, Electric Operations Regulatory Strategy & Community Wildfire Safety Program PMO, Pacific Gas & Electric

  • Rajdeep Roy, Principal Manager, Transmission & Distribution, Wildfire Resiliency Oversight, Southern California Edison

  • Michael Wara, Director, Climate & Energy Program, Stanford Woods Institute for Environment

Speakers

  • Dave Danner, Chairman, Washington Utilities & Transportation Commission

  • Mark Esguerra, Senior Director, Electric Asset Strategy, Pacific Gas & Electric

  • Barnie Gyant, Associate Deputy Chief, National Forest System, U.S. Forest Service

  • Caroline Thomas Jacobs, Director, Wildfire Safety Division, California Public Utilities Commission 

  • Brian Long, Director of System Sustainability, Xcel Energy

  • Randy Lyle, Principal, Wildfire Mitigation Strategies; Former Fire Coordinator, San Diego Gas & Electric

  • Mark Mezta, Manager of Wildfire Resilience and Operations, San Diego Gas & Electric

  • Jessica Morse, Deputy Secretary, Forest Resources Management, California Natural Resources

  • David Morton, Chair and CEO, British Columbia Utilities Commission

  • Matthew Pender, Director, Electric Operations Regulatory Strategy & Community Wildfire Safety Program PMO, Pacific Gas & Electric

  • Tom Rolinksi, Fire Scientist, Southern California Edison

  • Rajdeep Roy, Principal Manager, Transmission & Distribution, Wildfire Resiliency Oversight, Southern California Edison

  • Dave Sapsis, Chief Wildfire Scientist, Cal Fire

  • Mark Thompson, Commissioner, Oregon Public Utilities Commission

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.

  • IMPORTANT NOTE: After November 30 you will not be able to join a Teams meeting using Internet Explorer 11. Microsoft recommends downloading and installing the Teams app if possible. You may also use the Edge browser or Chrome.
  • 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: 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

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 and government employees qualify for a reduced rate

Event Standard RateAttendees
Single Connection - 2021 Wildfire Mitigation for Utilities - Western RegionUS $ 1295.00
Pack of 5 connectionsUS $ 5,180.00
Pack of 10 ConnectionsUS $ 9,065.00
Pack of 20 ConnectionsUS $ 15,540.00
Call us at 303.770.8800 if you have any specific questions on the volume discounts
* all other discounts do not apply to license packs

This event has the following workshops:

Heatwaves & Wildfires - Contingency PlanningUS $ 495.00

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Take advantage of these discounts!

  • Attend the Conference and workshop and pay US $ 1,695.00 per attendee (save US $ 95.00 each)

Cancellation Policy

Your registration may be transferred to a member of your organization up to 24 hours in advance of the event. Cancellations must be received on or before March 05, 2021 in order to be refunded and will be subject to a US $195.00 processing fee per registrant. No refunds will be made after this date. Cancellations received after this date will create a credit of the tuition (less processing fee) good toward any other EUCI event. This credit will be good for six months from the cancellation date. In the event of non-attendance, all registration fees will be forfeited. In case of conference cancellation, EUCIs liability is limited to refund of the event registration fee only. For more information regarding administrative policies, such as complaints and refunds, please contact our offices at 303-770-8800

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