California Utility Creates New Tech to Stop Wildfires

PGE Fires
PG&E is under severe criticism about its power outages and wildfire-sparking equipment. The utility is now testing a proactive technology that would “identify potential equipment failures” and avoid starting fires.

(TNS) — California utilities are experimenting with a new technology that proponents say could help prevent both electricity shutoffs and equipment failure-related wildfires.

The technology comes as the Pacific Gas & Electric faces intense criticism over its Public Safety Power Shutoff program, which has led to hundreds of thousands of Californians being left without power, often for days at a time, in an effort to prevent failing equipment from starting wildfires.

Distribution Fault Anticipation, as the technology is called, uses a predictive algorithm to assess electric systems and identify potential equipment failures, not unlike how a modern vehicle’s onboard computer works by “telling you everything there is to know of what’s wrong with the car,” said B. Don Russell.

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