Wildfire Risk Mitigation
Wildfires have been increasing in frequency and size, which presents unique challenges to utilities in the way they plan and run their businesses. Utilities must develop robust wildfire mitigation plans that include considerations for system reliability, public safety, implementation time and costs, and the regulatory environment in which they operate.
As a full-service advisory firm, Filsinger Energy Partners can assist utilities and other stakeholders with wildfire mitigation by providing analysis and executive leadership in the following areas:
Wildfire Mitigation Assessments: Perform assessments (including subject matter experts working sessions and initial site visits) of wildfire mitigation initiatives including:
Vegetation management (VM) programs
System hardening programs (both electrical infrastructure and microgrid implementation)
Emergency preparedness and response
Power shut off processes, procedures, and scope
Adequacy of tools that support the field in VM and infrastructure inspections and construction plans
Customer and community engagement and communications
Risk Model Assessment: Assess the risk models used in determining risk mitigation plans including their effectiveness in measuring risk spend efficiency (i.e. for each dollar spent, x% of risk is mitigated)
Benchmarking: Benchmark mitigation activities and risk modeling to best practices based primarily on learnings from other areas including but not limited to: California, Colorado, Australia and Puerto Rico
Stakeholder Engagement: Engage with state regulatory and legislative leaders, as well as other public stakeholders
Regulatory and Policy Strategy: Assist in working with regulatory and policy makers to develop a regulatory framework that aligns with wildfire mitigation goals
Relevant FEP Engagements Include
Western Utilities and a Government Entity
FEP reviewed wildfire mitigation plans (WMPs) and the governor’s plan for policy and legislative strategy to improve WMPs for several western utilities.
FEP also conducted field reviews to gauge the adequacy of WMPs for several western utilities. This included a facilitation among the utilities and the governor’s office to define the policy, regulatory and legislative changes necessary to improve the WMP. The facilitation covered permitting, regulatory requirements, risk modeling and technological challenges related to wildfire mitigation.
Western Utility Operational Observer Role
FEP is working for a western state Governor’s Office to assess a western utility’s: (a) preparation and implementation of WMP initiatives, (b) risk assessment and modeling, (c) customer and community outreach, (d) gas operations, (e) public safety, (f) enabling technology, and (g) related efforts. FEP actively engages with the utility’s executive leadership (CEO, COO, Chief Safety Officer, Chief Risk Officer) and their respective teams on detailed initiatives to review the current plan, proposed changes to the plan and implementation of the plan.
FEP moved a team to the Caribbean after Hurricane Maria’s devastation in 2017. Our task was to assist with the rebuild, funding vision and future policy around the island’s utility. The FEP team worked with the utility's governing board to establish federal and local recovery and mitigation strategies.
FEP, along with utility officials, met with the governor’s office to craft policy around the utility's future. In addition, FEP worked with key stakeholders in Washington, D.C. to help secure funding for the utility's recovery and future success. FEP also worked with regulatory authorities to establish a rebuilding and resource plan for the utility. Staff members from FEP developed and led a corporate-wide operational and cost improvement effort that resulted in the development of a multi-year business plan, which significantly reduced projected costs and improved organizational efficiency. This process included developing a resilient power infrastructure to withstand environmental disasters.
Additionally, FEP worked with the utility in developing a vegetation management program that met the scrutiny of both federal and local agencies.