Line procedures for PUD change |

Line procedures for PUD change

The Truckee Donner Public Utility District has recognized that fire season is here, and has changed its power line procedure to help prevent fires.

The drawback – it could mean delays in getting power turned back on, once a line has gone down or been automatically switched off.

Peter Holzmeister, general manager of the PUD, says the inconvenience outweighs the greater danger.

“As long as California has this dry summer, we are going to do everything we can to prevent fires,” said Holzmeister.

He explained that a detection system wired into the lines helps prevent electrocution and sparking if something like a bird or tree limb falls on the wires.

“If the system detects a fault, basically a large rush of electricity … from say a squirrel or bird … protective devices see what’s happening and shuts (the line) off,” said Holzmeister. “But the systems are pretty smart and they restore power automatically (when the fault is clear).”

Instead of allowing these systems to restore themselves the PUD will require that a crew go to the scene and examine the fault before turning the power back on.

Holzmeister says it is a precaution other electric utilities companies in California are also taking.

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