Bonneville Power Administration adds public safety power shutoff procedure to wildfire plan

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Bonneville Power Administration has announced the addition of a public safety power shutoff (PSPS) procedure to its wildfire mitigation plan.

The administration started to develop the procedure after the 2020 wildfire season, according to a press release.

BPA already has an extensive vegetation management program around its transmission lines to reduce the risk of starting wildfires and characterizes the use of PSPS as a rare event.

Weather conditions that might trigger a PSPS procedure would include the combination of very dry ground, winds gusting higher than 60 mph and relative humidity less than 20 percent.

“Taking a line out of service during a PSPS event is a measure of last resort,” said Michelle Cathcart, BPA vice president of transmission operations, “We recognize the important role that our transmission system plays in the Northwest.”

The power administration noted that taking a transmission line out of service does not necessarily mean that Northwest residents and businesses will lose power.

The administration’s 2021 fire plan can be viewed online at www.tinyurl.com/PDN-BPA-Fire-Plan.

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