Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has unveiled a new, state-of-the-art electric distribution control center in Fresno. The $28.5 million facility is the first of three new control centers that will manage PG&E's more than 140,000 miles of electric distribution system serving nearly 16 million Californians.
The new 24,000-square-foot facility, known as an "electric grid nerve center," will enhance electric reliability and resiliency for PG&E customers throughout the Central Valley, utilizing current and future smart grid technologies.
"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," said Geisha Williams, executive vice president of electric operations, PG&E.
The "nerve center" is equipped with systems that support today's smart grid technology, as well as future upgrades.
A new distribution management system incorporates advanced electronic mapping and smart meter data to help operators exactly pinpoint outage locations. Automated "self-healing" or "smart switches" isolate outages and help reroute the flow of electricity to minimize the number of customers affected by an outage and restore power more quickly.
The new facility will provide emergency back-up capabilities to enhance PG&E's disaster resiliency capability thanks to redundant data feeds. Additionally, the center has the flexibility to shift operations to other new regional control centers like those in Concord and Rocklin in the event of a major storm or natural disaster.
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