With Opening of New Rocklin Facility, PG&E Completes Move to Industry-Leading, High-Tech Electric Distribution Control Centers
With the opening of a third electric distribution center today, Pacific
Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has completed a successful, multi-year
project that has transformed how the company monitors and operates its
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Customer benefits include enhanced reliability, quicker response to
outages and emergencies such as natural disasters, and increased
capabilities to continue adding clean, renewable power sources such as
solar and wind.
The facility is the third of three new industry leading control centers
– other locations are in Fresno and Concord – that will manage PG&E's
more than the 140,000 miles of electric distribution lines that serve
nearly 16 million Californians. The new, 50,000 square-foot operations
center will enhance electric reliability and resiliency for PG&E
customers throughout Northern California by utilizing current and future
Smart Grid technologies.
A dedication event was held earlier today at the new center with local
civic leaders, PG&E executives and employees.
“PG&E’s investments in Rocklin and our other new distribution control
centers will allow us to make progress in two areas we know our
customers care about: improving reliability and integrating higher
levels of clean energy on our grid,” said Geisha Williams, president,
“Grid operators are the quarterbacks of our system, and these new
control centers give them real-time insight into the health of the
electric grid. Using new technologies such as SmartMeter™ advanced
features, our operators in these centers can react rapidly to changing
conditions, dispatch the closest field resources and get the lights back
on for our customers,” said Barry Anderson, PG&E vice president of
emergency preparedness and operations.
The new distribution control center is just one of many infrastructure
investments in Placer County and Northern California. PG&E invested more
than $35 million last year in the electrical infrastructure that serves
Placer County and more than $2.7 billion system-wide. The new facility
will add to the $8.5 million that PG&E pays in property taxes to Placer
County each year.
Smart Grid Technology
The new control center has been equipped with systems that support
today's current Smart Grid technology, but will also support future
upgrades as well. New technology incorporates advanced electronic
mapping of PG&E’s electric distribution grid and SmartMeter data to help
operators pinpoint the exact location of an outage, which will expedite
Electric operators also played a key role in helping design the new
nerve center of the electric grid, helping to design the work stations
and technology that they will be utilizing to control the grid every day.
“Self-Healing” Grid Technology
Operators also have the ability to remotely control equipment and work
with automated "self-healing" technology that has been installed on
electric circuits throughout Northern California. These Smart Switches
automatically isolate outages and help reroute the flow of electricity
to minimize the number of customers affected by an outage and restore
others within minutes. To date, this self-healing technology has helped
avoid more than 100 million customer outage minutes and saved more than
1 million customers from a sustained outage.
Enhanced Natural Disaster and Storm Resiliency
This facility will further enhance PG&E’s disaster resiliency
capability. The control center is constructed with redundant data and
power feeds to assure a high degree of reliability. Additionally, the
center has the flexibility to shift operations through seamless
technology to the two other regional control centers if support is
needed in the event of a major storm or natural disaster.
PG&E has delivered record electric reliability to its customers for
seven straight years, consistently reducing the average duration of
power outages. Investments in the grid, including the deployment of
Smart Grid technology, played a key role in delivering this performance.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E
Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas
and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco,
with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the
nation’s cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and
Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/
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