SCE to begin line insulation work in California despite pandemic, lockdown

Southern California Edison (SCE), will begin insulating power lines in Valencia in preparation for the wildfire season. The work has been deemed critical and the utility said the crews will practice physical distancing while doing the installations.

Six spans of bare wire will be replaced with covered conductor near the I-5 Freeway. This insulation will help prevent power line damage during extreme weather.

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“We’re in the field every day adhering to the physical distancing requirement while working on high-voltage power lines,” said Willie Rios, an SCE foreman. “We’re still able to follow all safety and health guidelines by bringing in an extra bucket truck to keep the proper distance away.”

“It’s really important that we maintain the grid right now because first responders, hospitals and supermarkets are relying on electricity,” Rios added.

More than 25% of SCE’s service area is in high fire risk areas; therefore, wildfire mitigation tools, such as insulated wire, are important to the grid’s security.

The company filed its Wildlife Mitigation Plan with the California Public Utilities Commission in February and SCE will continue to harden infrastructure, bolster situational awareness and enhance operational practices to keep communities safe.

“Southern California Edison is deferring noncritical work while moving forward with critical work to manage public safety and imminent reliability issues, reduce the risk of wildfires and the scale of Public Safety Power Shutoff events during wildfire season and keep our communities safe,” said Pedro Pizarro, CEO of Edison International, the parent company of SCE.

This story originally appeared on our sister site, POWERGRID International.