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Wildfires Best Practices

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  1. DRAFT WildfiresBest Practices February 27, 2012 ERCOT Drought Workshop Austin, Texas

  2. Oncor Facts 7,300,000 3,260,000 15,341 103,436 995 • Service Area Population: • Meter Points of Delivery: • Transmission Circuit Miles • (345, 138 and 69 kV): • Distribution Circuit Miles: • Substations: Oncor - wires only - no generation; no sales of electricity Transmission Distribution Retail Electric Providers (REP) Generators

  3. Telvent Weather System Drought conditions combined with high winds and low humidity can result in wildfires affecting Oncor’s service area

  4. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admin. (NOAA) Wildfire: Any large fire that spreads rapidly and is hard to extinguish.

  5. Red Flag Warnings Red Flag Warnings are generated by NOAA ( National Weather Service) in counties that have weather conditions conducive to having fires occur. A RED FLAG WARNING MEANS THAT CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EITHER OCCURRING NOW...OR WILL SHORTLY. A COMBINATION OF STRONG WINDS...LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY...AND WARM TEMPERATURES WILL CREATE EXPLOSIVE FIRE GROWTH POTENTIAL. NOAA broadcasts Warnings( weather, Red Flag and other warnings) every two (2) minutes. These Red Flag Warnings are saved to a PI server which in turn, encodes them in an ICCP format and transmits the data to the Transmission Management System (TMS). The TMS turns on /off a Red/Yellow box visually indicating a Red Flag Warning.

  6. NOAA

  7. Station one - line screen

  8. Feeder Summary screen

  9. Transmission End to End screen

  10. Red Flag Conditions • Transmission and distribution procedures have been implemented that minimize creating a fire hazard when reclosing breakers on lines in areas where a Red Flag Warning has been issued. • Transmission:  When a transmission line locks out under Red Flag conditions (NOAA issued fire danger warning), TG Controller will typically not attempt to re-energize that line or line section until field inspection results are known. Mitigating factors to this decision might be: • Location of fault using Digital Fault Recorder (DFR) • System reliability with no other safety issue • TG Controller always has ability to act as it pertains to safety and reliability. • Distribution: procedure is DOC Controller will typically not attempt to reclose feeder breaker until field inspection results are known or Supervisor approves based on mitigating factors similar to Transmission.

  11. Our job is not to fight wildfires, but to maintain • our assets to safely operate the electric grid.

  12. Best Practices • 1. Team: Best to send two people • 2 Vehicle: Each team needs a vehicle, water tank and sprayer • a. Support vehicle with water tank large enough to refill each team 2 or 3 time • 3. Work Practices: • a. If possible get to line ahead of fire. Clean around poles with shovels, then wet pole at least 5’ high • b. If fire has passed fall in behind and wet all poles. Then go back thru and re-soak all poles again. Poles can flare back up even after they have been soaked once

  13. Additional Best Practices • 4. Safety: • a. Appoint one man to head up the fire teams and conduct tailboards • b. Switch out line if possible • c. Keep constant watch on fire location and conditions of poles • d. If frames are too far gone, switch out line and drop customers • e. At next safety meeting talk about response, any problems that occurred and how to best fix the problems that occurred • 5. PPE: Use normal PPE / FR clothing issued to employees • a. Abundance of bottled water • 6. Proactive communication with law enforcement • a. Supervisor will contact fire marshal or incident commander • b. Talk to state and local law enforcement officers as to what we are doing and where we will be

  14. Additional Best Practices after Wildfire • Personnel • Have Oncor employees make an assessment of damage ( line and substation ) a. Get intelligence from airplane or helicopter • Have an engineer on site • Have good list of contractors ( along with their safety representative on site ) a. Have one point of contact with contractor b. Have enough FCC inspectors available for the work going on and have one point of contact FCC 4. Have an extra Oncor supervisor or manager representative in area a. Utilize for material coordination, sending out update notes up, etc. b. Coordinate activities with the distribution, Co-op, etc.

  15. Additional Best Practices after Wildfires • Safety Concerns • Be aware of different strains on the structures, and wire and what work is being done on either side of your location • Be aware of smoke • Be aware of any oil/gas lines in the area, that could cause additional damage • 4. Special safety meetings for wildfire events a. Contractor to have daily meeting, discussing the goal for the day and where crews will be working • 5. Proactive communications with law enforcement a. In general the DPS and fire marshal will have the roads blocked, Oncor patrol vehicles have a police scanner for general information b. DPS and fire marshal generally allow Oncor crews into the areas, if they feel that it is safe to do so

  16. Wildfire Deterrent • A review noted that one of the most effective fire deterrents was the wood pole ground line treatment that had been performed in the last couple of years that disturbed the soil surrounding the pole and removed the fire source adjacent to the pole.  Oncor has an on-going wood ground line inspection program that should help to reduce the effects of wildfires on recently treated poles.

  17. Questions