Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Utility's Vegetation Management Program Ignored Inspector Warning to Trim Tree

A San Diego Gas & Electric Company employee testifed before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) regarding causes of recent wildfires and contractor involvement in county tree inspections around power lines before the 2007 Rice wildfire. Despite a warning from a contracted "tree pre-inspector" regarding tree FF1090 that was entered into SDG&E's automated tree inventory system, no action was taken because SDG&E never got an additional memo.

Tree FF1090 limb failure onto an SDG&E power line has been cited as the alleged cause of the Rice wildfire.

Don Akau, SDG&E Vegetation Management Program manager, testifed that he was "ultimately responsible for the automated tree inventory system utilized by SDG&E and SDG&E's contractors to ensure that data input and system utilization is timely, accurate and complete." Akau further stated that "SDG&E had no reason to suspect prior to October 22, 2007 that any portion of tree FF1090 had a structural defect."

In follow-up questioning before the Commission, Akau agreed that he was aware of allegations "that tree FF1090 should have been trimmed within three months of July 18, 2007 because the Davey Resource pre-inspector selected the '0-3 months' drop-down option for 'months to next trim' and has since testified that he did so because he believed tree FF1090 might encroach within 4 feet within three months of his inspection."

Akau said SDG&E never got the separate memo that was required under SDG&E policy for immediate trimming that is not otherwise predicted by the tree inventory system in SDG&E's computer model.

In the field of information technology, it is axiomatic among experienced systems analysts that requiring multiple data input streams for the same information going into any complex system is a key component for generating systemic errors that could have been avoided through better initial design. A system used for predictions of liabilities that fails to process critical data is generally considered to be inadequate or dangerous. Testimony to CPUC by SDG&E's Debra Reed and other investor-owned utility executives in the 2009 Wildfire Expense Balancing Account (WEBA) application declared that wildfires are a necessary evil in electricity distribution.

Akau testified at length about SDG&E's ability to predict tree growth. Not included in Akau's testimony, nor in the testimony of other SDG&E witnesses before the CPUC were the effects of extended drought and insect infestation leading to tree disease or death that are not considerations in the VMP tree inventory system computer model.

According to CPUC Commissioner Timothy Alan Simon in an earlier press release, "The CPUC will respond appropriately to the wildfires after CPSD completes its investigation into the role overhead electric lines played in the wildfires." The Commissioner's statement continued: "Rule changes regarding transmission lines may be necessary. In order to know exactly what we need to do to improve safety, we need to have all the facts regarding the San Diego fires.

It is only this blogger's opinion, but the current move by SDG&E for cutting power to consumers during high dry wind conditions is apparently just a work-around for the inadequacies of its current tree inventory system computer model as a predictor of wildfire conditions by specific location.

Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close