Analysis of San Diego Gas and Electric Wildfire Mitigation Expenditures
Synapse was hired by The Utility Reform Network (TURN), a ratepayer advocate in California, to evaluate San Diego Gas and Electric's (SDG&E's) proposal for wildfire mitigation expenditures, primarily the undergrounding of distribution lines. Our analysis of risk and cost-effectiveness data found that the risk reduction benefits of undergrounding power lines is less than the costs, and that our alternative proposal, that focused more on covered conductor (highly insulated wires) and less on undergrounding, would provide 78 percent of the wildfire risk reduction benefits for 35 percent of the costs. This would save ratepayers over $1 billion. On a statewide rather than utility territory basis, the difference in risk reduction between the proposals was found to be less than 1 percent.