SoCalGas Study Offers Lessons in Resiliency Planning to Help Communities and Utilities Prepare for Disasters
Study of 2017-18 hurricanes and wildfires analyzes utility damage, disruptions, and opportunities to increase resilience
Oct 30, 2018
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 30, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- As wildfire season arrives and the U.S. recovers from two Category 4 hurricanes, Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) today released a new study that looks at how utilities and communities across the country can be better prepared for such disasters. The study, conducted for SoCalGas by global consulting firm ICF, investigated damage and disruptions in the energy and transportation sectors caused by four disasters--hurricanes Harvey and Irma, last October's Northern California wildfires, and the December 2017 wildfires and subsequent mudslides in Southern California. The report reveals examples of resilience and best practices by various utilities, drawing from utility and state Energy department reports, interviews recounting first-hand observations, and other sources. The full study is available here.
"This study gave us key insights into how we can create a stronger energy system that better protects communities," said Jimmie Cho, SoCalGas senior vice president of customer services and distribution operations. "We hope that sharing the results can help enhance resiliency both in California and across the country. The impact of these disasters makes it clear that it's time for action, and we're proud to play a part in that."
"This case study analysis makes clear the importance of gathering information through technologies such as SCADA systems and drone capability, then sharing that data in real-time interaction between utilities and government in a natural disaster," said Don Boland, executive director of the California Utilities Emergency Association. "Utilities, law enforcement, Fire, DOT and emergency responders cannot be siloed. Everyone needs to share information so that all parties know what can be brought to bear in a disaster response."
"There are real and growing risks that energy utilities face," said Susan Asam, the project lead and Vice President of Climate Adaptation and Resilience at ICF. "SoCalGas has shown leadership in recognizing the need to better understand these risks, the value of learning from past events, and the importance of sharing best practices widely."
The study revealed findings that may be useful for utilities and communities anywhere:
SoCalGas is using the findings from this study to help enhance resiliency locally. The company will apply lessons learned through its Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Planning Grant Program, which will provide $100,000 in planning grants to two selected municipalities.
Headquartered in Los Angeles, SoCalGas® is the largest natural gas distribution utility in the United States. SoCalGas delivers affordable, reliable, clean and increasingly renewable natural gas service to 21.8 million customers across 24,000 square miles of Central and Southern California, where more than 90 percent of residents use natural gas for heating, hot water, cooking, drying clothes or other uses. Natural gas delivered through the company's pipelines also plays a key role in providing electricity to Californians—about 60 percent of electric power generated in the state comes from gas-fired power plants.
SoCalGas is committed to investing in its natural gas system infrastructure, while keeping bills affordable for our customers. From 2013 through 2017, the company spent nearly $6 billion to upgrade and modernize its natural gas system to enhance safety and reliability. The company is also committed to being a leader in the region's clean energy future, and is working to accelerate the use of renewable natural gas from dairy farms, landfills and wastewater treatment plants and the development of renewable energy storage technologies. SoCalGas is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), an energy services holding company based in San Diego. For more information visit socalgas.com/newsroom or connect with SoCalGas on Twitter (@SoCalGas), Instagram (@SoCalGas) and Facebook.
SOURCE Southern California Gas Company
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