PG&E Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Report 2020

Plan of Reorganization Commitments

Public Safety

PG&E’s efforts to keep the public safe range from comprehensive programs to train our workforce to investments in our gas and electric infrastructure to enhanced record-keeping systems. With the increased wildfire threat our state faces, PG&E is also enhancing and expanding our efforts to reduce wildfire risks and keep our customers and communities safe.

Importantly, safety must and will come first as we continue through the reorganization process called for under our Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding. We will continue to prioritize safety, and the necessary steps and actions that must be taken to make the energy system safer.

Our Approach

Embedding Safety in Our Operations

We take a multifaceted approach to protect the safety of the public through our operations:

  • Electric Operations: PG&E’s safety efforts in our electric operations can be seen in our efforts to harden our infrastructure, modernize the grid and execute the Community Wildfire Safety Program to continue to improve our ability to deliver power safely and reliably. This includes listening sessions with stakeholders to improve our PSPS program going forward by making events smaller in size, shorter in length and smarter for our customers.
  • Gas Operations: PG&E continuously works with the goal to make our natural gas system the safest in the nation, with a focus on maintaining our best-in-class asset management certifications, meeting all compliance standards, and maintaining rigorous pipeline safety management systems.
  • Energy Supply: PG&E remains focused on safely operating the Diablo Canyon Power Plant and our natural gas-fired generation facilities. We also continue to inspect and maintain our hydroelectric system according to strict safety guidelines and to enhance public safety outreach in communities around our facilities.

Community Wildfire Safety Program

More than half of the area where our customers live and work is at high risk for wildfires. Our Community Wildfire Safety Program includes short-, medium- and long-term plans to make our system safer. Our goal is to further reduce wildfire risks and keep our customers and the communities we serve safe. This includes:

  • Accelerated inspections of electric towers and poles. In 2019, these safety inspections included approximately 50,000 transmission structures in high fire-risk areas, all 222 substations in high fire-risk areas, and nearly 700,000 distribution poles in, or adjacent to, high fire-risk areas. Inspections included climbing of transmission towers and use of drones to capture high-definition photos of system components. Progress on PG&E’s wildfire safety inspections program is available to customers.
  • Deployment of the Satellite Fire Detection and Alerting System. After several years of testing and development, PG&E rolled out this state-of-the-art technological program that incorporates data from the two new GOES satellites, as well as three polar orbiting satellites, to provide PG&E with advanced warning 24/7 of potential new fire incidents. Out of 82 fires reported out by PG&E’s Wildfire Safety Operations Center, the satellite detection program alerted to 62 percent of these. Once filtered for fires that grew to over 30 acres, the satellite detection program alerted to 90 percent of these.
  • Miles of stronger, more resilient infrastructure. PG&E is upgrading our electric system in the highest fire-risk areas by ultimately installing approximately 7,100 miles of stronger poles and covered power lines. In some cases, targeted undergrounding of power equipment is possible.
  • Public Safety Power Shutoff. PG&E is implementing additional precautionary measures to help reduce the risk of wildfires. For public safety, it may be necessary for us to turn off electricity when extreme fire danger conditions are forecast. PG&E used this safety tool nine times in 2019.
  • New weather stations and high-definition cameras. PG&E is adding approximately 1,300 weather stations and 600 cameras by 2022 to provide improved awareness and real-time monitoring across high fire risk areas.
  • Wildfire Safety Operations Center. In 2018, PG&E opened a new Wildfire Safety Operations Center, staffed 24/7, to monitor potential fire threats across PG&E's service area in real time and coordinate with first responders and public safety officials to respond to any emerging threats and help keep communities safe.

Gas Safety

It is our fundamental responsibility to design, build, maintain and operate our gas system to keep customers and communities safe. Our 2020 Gas Safety Plan (PDF) demonstrates PG&E’s commitment and progress in implementing processes, programs and procedures to achieve our vision to become the safest and most reliable natural gas utility in the nation.

For example, PG&E continues to invest in the safety and reliability of our gas transmission pipeline system. From 2011 to 2019, PG&E has achieved the following results:

  • Validated safe operating pressure by strength-testing 1,495 miles of gas pipeline.
  • Replaced 269 miles of gas transmission pipeline.
  • Automated 360 valves, enabling automatic or remote-control shutoff of gas in an emergency.
  • Retrofitted 1,316 miles of gas transmission lines to accommodate in-line inspection tools, or “smart pigs,” which are used to inspect the condition of pipelines using sophisticated technology.

During this timeframe, we have also installed 2,907 SCADA visibility and control points on the gas transmission system and 4,314 SCADA visibility and control points on the gas distribution system to monitor pressure and flow.

Our 2020 Gas Safety Plan outlines both the work we accomplished in 2019, and our plan moving forward to achieve our goals. The plan includes an expanded focus on several areas:

  • Efforts to improve our safety culture through partnerships across our gas organization leadership, grassroots safety teams and labor unions.
  • How our Corrective Action Program is an integral part of our safety culture as it provides a mechanism for employees to speak-up and report issues or ideas related to gas assets and processes as well as tracks actions taken to address such issues, some of which include conducting cause evaluations.
  • A third-party assessment of our gas operations compliance with the intent of API Recommended Practice 754, Process Safety Performance Indicators, demonstrating a commitment to incident prevention.

While we have made progress in key safety areas, we realize there is more to do to demonstrate our commitment and progress towards gas safety excellence.

Emergency Preparedness and Response

To prepare for major weather events and natural disasters—earthquakes, wildfires, floods, heavy winds and blizzards—PG&E relies upon our enterprise-wide Emergency Response Program Management Office (PMO), through which we continually review and strengthen our catastrophic emergency response plans.

The PMO ensures that we have:

  • Clearly defined organizational structures, roles and responsibilities,
  • Restoration priorities that incorporate community needs to help customers get back to normal,
  • Effective logistics plans that support restoration needs,
  • Technology that is ready and available to support our response,
  • Employees who are trained and fully understand their emergency roles, and
  • Employees who are personally prepared for emergencies and ready to respond at home and at work.

2019 Milestones

Storm and Earthquake Preparation

PG&E works year-round to prepare for extreme weather events through advance planning, new initiatives and the incorporation of state-of-the-art technologies.

Highlights from 2019 include:

  • Launched the Safety Action Center, a dedicated safety webpage featuring helpful information about wildfire risks and what customers can do to keep their home, family or business safe, including tips on how to create an emergency plan, emergency preparedness guides and videos.
  • Urging customers to update their contact information, as part of a campaign encouraging customers to have a plan for the growing threat of climate-driven extreme weather and wildfires. PG&E is asking customers to update their mobile numbers, email addresses and other contact information so PG&E can communicate with them through important wildfire safety alerts. The effort included earned and social media.
  • Participating in an earthquake preparedness initiative, focused on the impacts of a hypothetical 7.0 earthquake along the Hayward fault on PG&E’s infrastructure. PG&E used a new facility in Vacaville, designed to serve as an alternative Emergency Operations Center and away from Bay Area faults.
  • Co-sponsoring the annual California Day of Preparedness event, sponsored by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), where dozens of state and local agencies, first responders and other community organizations offered a variety of preparedness tips and activities. Held in Old Sacramento, the event drew more than 6,000 people.

First Responder Collaboration and Assistance

In an emergency situation, our first priority is to protect the health and welfare of the public. We do that by coordinating and communicating with police, fire and other officials in an effort to keep the public and first responders safe. Our emergency response plan—which is developed, shared and tested with emergency officials—defines clear lines of responsibility for PG&E and emergency personnel. PG&E also maintains a secure First Responder website, where emergency officials can access training materials and gas transmission infrastructure information and maps.

Last year, PG&E hosted 375 training workshops to better prepare firefighters, police, public works officials and other authorities to respond to emergencies involving electricity and natural gas. We also met with 370 local fire entities to address contingency planning for gas-related events.

Community Outreach and Partnerships

We regularly work with community partners to better prepare for emergencies. Examples include:

  • Awarded $2 million in wildfire prevention grants to local Fire Safe Councils. The grants marked the sixth year PG&E partnered with 28 local California Fire Safe Councils and other non-profit partners to fund shovel-ready projects, with funds going to 25 counties for 46 projects to help keep communities safe. The funds paid for fuel reduction, emergency access and defensible space projects, as well as chipper days in local communities.
  • Expanded a partnership with the California Fire Foundation by funding a $1 million Wildfire Safety and Preparedness grant focused on providing funding for firefighters and Community/Neighborhood Emergency Response Teams (CERT/NERT) in Northern California, specifically communities identified as extreme or elevated fire risk.
  • Funded four new local climate resilience projects through the Better Together Resilient Communities grant program. For the third year, this initiative, funded by the Utility and The PG&E Corporation Foundation, provided four $100,000 grants to support local planning efforts to build resilience to extreme events and other risks related to climate change, with a focus on grants that build community capacity to reduce wildfire risk and support healthy and resilient forests and watersheds.

Public Safety Awareness

Educating the public about working safely around our systems and facilities, and on how to stay safe during emergencies, remains a key element of our public safety strategy. Examples include:

  • Urging customers and contractors to call 811 before digging. A call to 811 is the best safeguard and the first line of defense to preventing strikes on underground utility lines. Callers are connected to their local 811 center that notifies the appropriate utility of their intent to dig. That utility operator sends a specially trained and qualified technician to the digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags or spray paint.
  • Emphasizing safety around downed power lines by providing safety tips online and through an extensive public advertising campaign. PG&E also urged customers to have a storm preparation plan and provided instructions on how to create an emergency supply kit.
  • Building a new, standalone cloud-based website specifically for emergencies. This includes revised PSPS content and tools for easier usability for customers.
  • Promoting public safety around PG&E waterways, including dam safety and encouraging customers to take extra precautions around hydroelectric facilities and dams, where water flows can change rapidly.
  • Taking a stand against scams. As part of the Utilities United Against Scams, a consortium of more than 100 U.S. and Canadian energy companies, PG&E advised customers on how to protect themselves against potential scammers.

Cyber and Physical Security

Pacific Gas and Electric Company operates infrastructure that has been deemed critical to our national and economic security. As such, PG&E is firmly committed to working with other gas and electric providers, other essential industries, and government officials to develop and implement state-of-the-art security strategies and best practices.

PG&E’s Security Organization includes both cyber and physical security teams, reporting to Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer. The combined functionality of the teams demonstrates PG&E’s commitment to addressing evolving threats and complex risks. Recent security attacks on industrial control systems illustrate the importance of these efforts.

PG&E’s priority is to protect our customers, employees, information and assets. We seek to continually improve our services through strategic deployment of our resources, standardizing security practices and policies, and reinforcing and promoting security awareness across the enterprise.

As PG&E’s technological footprint expands, the need to protect our people, assets and information from attacks becomes even more essential. We have made investments in key areas to modernize the security infrastructure and to build service capability, providing the security team with the tools they need to manage challenges to our critical infrastructure.

Once risks are identified and prioritized, we develop mitigation plans to protect the enterprise and reduce risk. PG&E has around-the-clock centralized security monitoring operations for threat detection, situational awareness, incident management, and emergency response to proactively defend PG&E from both cyber and physical threats.

Measuring Progress

PG&E tracks our public safety performance via a set of public safety metrics with the aim of continuous improvement.

As safety is PG&E’s most important responsibility, in 2019, safety performance constituted 65 percent of management’s annual at-risk performance-based pay. The customer service metric was weighted at 10 percent and financial performance at 25 percent.