West Coast Utility Commissions Wildfire Dialogue

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Date and Time

Location

Location

Convention Center MAX Station

777 NE Martin Luther King Blvd

Portland, OR 97232

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Event description
Western states and provinces experts will share evolving approaches to the rapidly changing wildfire risk.

About this Event

In-person registration for this event is now closed. If you are a member of the media and interested in attending please contact Julie Peacock, julie.peacock@state.or.us

If you are interested in viewing remotely, please use this link below:

https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/7914542383164887053

If you have any questions regarding the event, please contact Julie Peacock, julie.peacock@state.or.us Responses may be slow.

Purpose:

The Public Utility Commissions from Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada, and British Columbia will convene an all-day public workshop regarding wildfire risk. The workshop will feature participants and experts, who will share their perspectives and evolving approaches to address rapidly changing wildfire risk aggravated by climate change and other factors. This dialogue will focus on impacts to energy utilities, customers, and communities, as well as lessons learned by western states to help manage and mitigate wildfire risk.

Context:

Climate change, among other factors, is intensifying the severity and frequency of weather events. In the West, we are experiencing dramatic changes in wildfire intensity and severity, which has been exacerbated by increased temperatures, drought, and other environmental changes. Substantial efforts are being undertaken to respond to wildfire risk, including: increasing grid resiliency through the hardening of infrastructure, increasing coordination efforts, and the deployment of new technologies to mitigate wildfire risks and impacts. Similarly, jurisdictions continue to increase adaptation efforts through the assessment of and planning for system vulnerabilities.

Delivering safe, reliable, and reasonably affordable electricity on a universal basis requires new, holistic approaches to these evolving risks. Solutions are wide-ranging – including physical upgrades to the electricity system, changes to operational practices, new monitoring technology, better and more detailed understanding of system inter-dependencies, and financial instruments.

The changes in wildfire risk are only just beginning and will be present for decades to come, requiring constant evolution of best practices. Delivering on our missions as public utility regulators - to ensure safe, reliable electricity at just and reasonable rates - requires us to engage fully in this adaptation.

Panel Topics for Dialogue:

• Tracking the Changing Risk: What is the state-of-the art fire risk mapping currently available and how fast is it adapting to changing climate?

• Making Risk-Based Changes to the System: How can utilities effectively prioritize risk mitigation efforts, and what issues arise or barriers develop for utilities in that 'prioritization?'

• Managing the Financial Risks: What are the financial tools available to utilities to mitigate ratepayer risk and keep the cost of capital affordable? Are these tools robust enough for the scale of possible losses?

• Expanding Public Safety Coordination: What factors should be considered to ensure de-energization does not increase public safety risk now that transportation, communication, and other essential services are more reliant on electricity?

Format:

Expert panels will make presentations and engage in dialogue with the Commissioner Roundtable followed by questions and comments from the audience as time allows.

This dialogue is open to the press and public, though is not a decision-making meeting for the participating Commissions.

Date and Time

Location

Convention Center MAX Station

777 NE Martin Luther King Blvd

Portland, OR 97232

View Map

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