What is Lane Electric doing to protect the community?
To prepare for the wildfires that are a reality to summer in the Pacific Northwest, Lane Electric developed a wildfire mitigation plan to ensure the safety of our communities, minimize sources of ignition, and improve the resiliency of our system. While the mitigation plan formalizes our approach, the tactics involved in have been practiced by Lane Electric for years.
Lane Electric’s plan centers around three main categories.
Maintaining the power line right-of-way is a necessary function of delivering electrical services to our communities. It’s also the most important step in minimizing sources of potential wildfire ignition. We have a vegetation management staff with arborists and forestry experts that work to trim and remove trees to keep power lines clear. Additionally, we perform regular maintenance and conduct planned outages to keep equipment up to date. Preventing wildfires takes work from both the community and the co-op and we are committed to doing our part.
The co-op began moving lines underground in 1990 and over the past 30 years has continued to bury power lines to protect from wind, wildfires, and weather. Currently, Lane Electric has more than half of our distribution system (754 miles of line) underground, which is significantly higher than the national average. Each year we apply for FEMA grants to move more of our system underground.
In some parts of the system the cooperative is looking to implement an overhead spacer-cable system which upgrades three critical components:
- Covered conductors: Builds a barrier between the electric line and any objects it may contact
- Spacers: Ensures lines are unable to contact each other
- Strong messengers: Supports independent wiring of electrical conductors
When combined, this system will withstand the weight of heavy branches, strong winds, and severe ice storms without a loss of power.
A Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) is a preventative step electric utilities can take to reduce the risk of a wildfire. A PSPS is triggered when on the ground factors and weather conditions create an extreme wildfire risk that could threaten lives and lead to catastrophic damage. The decision to enact a PSPS is based, in part, on a red-flag warning issued by the National Weather Service. Lane Electric will also consider current and forecasted weather conditions, real-time observation from on-the-ground experts, and input from local public safety and health agencies.
We encourage you to sign up for public safety alerts from the National Weather Service to alert you about dangerous wildfire conditions. If a PSPS event is triggered, we may attempt to contact you so please login to your Lane Electric account and ensure your contact information is up to date.
Read Lane Electric’s wildfire mitigation plan.