Associated Press (AP) Reporter Cathy Bussewitz recently conducted a Q&A with our Chief Operating Officer Caroline Winn regarding our company’s decade-plus effort to build a comprehensive and robust wildfire safety program. Following devastating wildfires in 2007, we embarked on a journey to transform our operations and company culture with the goal of preventing our equipment from ever sparking a fire.
Winn was evacuated during the ’07 fires, along with many SDG&E employees and tens of thousands of local residents. Lives were lost during the fires, and hundreds of structures were destroyed, including those belonging to our employees.
In the AP interview, Winn reflects on how living through the fires drove SDG&E employees to innovate, starting with building an extensive weather station network to closely monitor conditions on the ground. To date, SDG&E has invested about $1.5 billion in wildfire safety measures, which also include installing mountain-top cameras to monitor fires, hiring a team of meteorologists, replacing wood poles with steel poles, and undergrounding power lines.
As part of the interview, Winn also talks about what our company is doing to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change, which is fueling more frequent and more severe wildfires in California.
Read the full AP story here. The story is titled “Utility Turned Disaster into Roadmap for Climate Change.”
To learn more, we encourage you to also watch “Everything in Our Power” – a 28-minute documentary that provides behind-the-scenes insights on state-of-the-start technologies and tools that we use to forecast fire weather, prevent fires, and fight fires.