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Pacific Power Presents Mitigation Plan To PUC

Pacific Power gave a presentation on its wildfire mitigation plan to the Oregon Public Utility Commission on Tuesday, which includes provisions for “Public Safety Power Shutoff” when there are extreme conditions in areas at risk of fast-spreading wildfires, including portions of the Hood River-Mosier area.  When asked by a commissioner when Pacific Power would reveal criteria conditions for a shutoff, company vice president of operations David Lucas said they are reluctant do that right now as they add equipment to refine their guidelines.  He told the PUC that they consider the plans “internal and operational” and are somewhat concerned about getting “stealth data out in the public they would never be able to get back.”  No one from the Mid-Columbia testified to the panel, but Josephine County Commissioner Lily Morgan, representing another county at high risk for wildfire, said while Pacific Power has been making sure they are at the table as plans are put together they still have concerns about the shutoffs, including the amount of area involved, and the impact on infrastructure and medical facilities, noting it is a lot to ask of small counties in a short amount of time to be prepared for the shutoffs.  Pacific Power’s wildfire mitigation plan includes more aggressive vegetation management around its facilities, increased inspections of those locations, and training employees to be able to respond to fire when they see something happen.