Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) unveiled its new, state-of-the-art, $28.5 million electric distribution control center in Fresno. The Fresno facility is the first of three new control centers other locations will be Concord and Rocklin that will manage PG&E's more than the 140,000 miles of electric distribution system serving nearly 16 million Californians. A dedication event was held earlier at the new center with local civic leaders, PG&E executives and staff.
The new distribution control center is just one of many infrastructure investments in Fresno and the Central Valley in recent years. In fact, PG&E is set to invest approximately $940 million in the region between 2012 and 2016. The new, 24,000-square-foot, operations center will enhance electric reliability and resiliency for PG&E customers throughout the Central Valley and will utilize current and future Smart Grid technologies. Electric operators from the area also played a key role in helping design the new electric grid nerve center.
"Every day, we work to provide our customers with energy that is safe, reliable, affordable and clean," said Geisha Williams, executive vice president of Electric Operations, who inaugurated the new facility. "This state-of-the-art facility, which integrates a wide range of advanced technologies under one roof, gives our grid operators unprecedented visibility into our electric system, which will allow them to help limit outages and restore service to our customers as quickly and effectively as possible."
"The City of Fresno appreciates the $28.5 million dollar investment in our community, and the 250 construction jobs created during the building and construction phase of this project," said Steve Brandau, Fresno City Council President.
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. A new Distribution Management System incorporates advanced electronic mapping and SmartMeter™ data to help operators pinpoint the exact location of an outage. Operators also have the ability to remotely control equipment and work with automated "self-healing" switches that have been installed on electric circuits throughout the Central Valley. These Smart Switches isolate outages and help reroute the flow of electricity to minimize the number of customers affected by an outage and restore others more quickly.
Constructed with redundant data feeds, the new facility will provide emergency back-up capabilities to enhance PG&E's disaster resiliency capability. Additionally, the center has the flexibility to shift operations to other new regional control centers (Concord and Rocklin) if support is needed in the event of a major storm or natural disaster.
PG&E continues to make significant progress in electric reliability that benefits customers throughout its entire service area. In 2013, PG&E customers experienced the fewest minutes without electricity in company history. Investments in the grid, including the deployment of Smart Grid technology played a key role in delivering this performance. Since 2006, Customers have seen a 40 percent improvement in the average duration of service disruptions and a 27 percent improvement in the number of customer interruptions.
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/ and http://www.pge.com/about/newsroom/.