Solving problems in the
Wildland-Urban Interface

Joseph W. Mitchell, Ph.D.
Phone: 858 228 0089

Power Lines and Wildfire

Wildfire Mitigation Plans

We proposed and lobbied through the first utility fire plans regulatory requirements as the technical expert for MGRA.  We continue to advocate for comprehensive utility wildfire mitigation plans, including:
  • - Continuing opportunity for substantive public and party input into utility fire plans
  • - Mandating wind speed as a key metric related to outages, vegetation incidents, and fires
  • - State-wide standards for all California electric utilities
  • - Training and certification for the new utility wildfire plan Independent Evaluators
CPUC 2012 Decision mandating the first wildfire prevention plans (pp. 44)
MGRA Wildfire Mitigation Plan filings:

Utility Liablity Cost Recovery Opposition

In 2009, California electrical utilities PG&E, SCE and SDG&E proposed creating a formal mechanism through which they could recover liability losses from wildland fires from ratepayers regardless of whether or not they were responsible for starting the fires. MGRA and other parties opposed this proposal, noting that it creates a moral hazard by reducing incentive for safe operation.

Power Shutoff NEWS 8 Interview

I discuss utility power shutoff and alternatives with David Gottfriedson of San Diego News 8.


Power Lines and Catastrophic Wild land Fire in Southern California

“Power Lines and Catastrophic Wildland Fire in Southern California” Presentation to the Fire & Materials 2009 Conference, San Francisco CA, Jan 26, 2009


PowerPoint Presentation

When to Turn Off the Power? Cost/Benefit Outline for Proactive De-energization

Filed with the CPUC in response to SDG&E’s 2008 application A.08-12-021 to turn off power under Santa Ana conditions, filed 3/27/2009 on behalf of MGRA. Turning off the power increases other types of risk – including fire risk. Benefits of turning off the power during high-wind conditions have to be weighed against costs & risks, which should result in an optimal shut-off threshold.