During Oregon’s annual fire season, Consumers Power members living in high-risk wildfire areas, may experience more power outages than normal. While our entire system is at risk of wildfires, the highest risk areas are predominately east of I-5.
Summer’s severe weather and heightened drought conditions mean CPI is proactively exercising an abundance of caution to help ensure members’ and our communities’ safety.
CPI’s Operational Wildfire Risk Mitigation Plan consists of 3 main components: Vegetation Management, System Hardening and System Coordination.
CPI recognizes that maintaining adequate vegetation clearance from power lines and electric utility equipment is vital for the safe and reliable operation of the electric distribution and transmission system. There are several elements to CPI’s vegetation management program designed to minimize contact between trees and power lines.
This includes the ongoing replacement of selected wood poles with steel, ductile iron and fiberglass in areas of high risk. We are also expanding our use of fiberglass crossarms on power poles, and strategically converting overhead powerlines to underground.
During wildfire season CPI employees compile daily situational reports from various data sources and continually monitor the weather, evaluating changing conditions across our service territory. Operational protocols are in place to respond appropriately to all “high” fire rating and Red Flag events. As a last resort, when necessary and when we have exhausted all system coordination strategies, CPI will implement a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) to protect our members, communities, and our system.
Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS)
Public Safety Power Shutoffs are a recent development in the strategies used by electric utilities to help keep people and communities safe. A PSPS preemptively de-energizes power lines during extreme weather events. During a PSPS power will not be restored until it is safe to do so. This could last for hours or days depending on the severity of the weather and other conditions. The decision to issue a PSPS is not one that CPI takes lightly but will be executed when extreme conditions present a clear and imminent danger to public safety. CPI coordinates PSPS events with various state and local agencies and will provide notification to members and the general public during an extreme weather event or PSPS. We encourage all members, including our medically vulnerable populations, to be prepared to be without power during a PSPS. For more information about Public Safety Power Shut Offs, please see our Public Safety Power Shutoff page.
CPI appreciates your patience and understanding as we navigate Oregon’s annual fire season to keep you and the general public safe. For personal preparedness tips, and to learn more about how CPI prepares for wildfires please click here.