Xcel Energy updates $1.9 billion wildfire mitigation plan with undergrounding measures

(UI) — Xcel Energy has filed an updated Wildfire Mitigation Plan (WMP) with the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for approval. The plan, covering 2025-2027, proposes $1.9 billion in spending on various wildfire prevention measures, including significant system resiliency upgrades.

Key elements of the updated WMP include:

  • Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) Program: This program will de-energize parts of the transmission and distribution systems to prevent wildfire ignitions. Xcel Energy plans to offer new rebates for backup energy support to income-qualified and medically vulnerable customers.
  • Enhanced Powerline Safety Settings (EPSS) Program: This program uses sectionalized protective devices to operate the system more conservatively under increased wildfire risk conditions. The expansion includes more risk-based feeders, new sectionalizing protective equipment, and advanced technology deployment.
  • Expanded Situational Awareness: Xcel Energy is increasing expertise and adding new weather stations in high-risk areas, along with deploying AI cameras.
  • Refined Wildfire Vegetation Management: The goal is to reduce vegetation-caused outages and ignitions and mitigate severe weather event consequences.
  • Infrastructure Inspections: Drone technology will be used for inspections, creating a comprehensive asset registry in high-fire threat areas and generating 3D maps of equipment, terrain, and vegetation.
  • System Resiliency: Xcel Energy is making physical investments to reduce the risk of utility-caused wildfires. This includes vegetation management, inspection and repair programs for distribution poles and transmission lines in high-risk areas, and a variety of mitigation measures informed by an updated Wildfire Risk Assessment. These measures include targeted undergrounding of power lines, covered conductors, line rebuilds, and non-expulsion upgrades in Tier 2 and Tier 3 risk areas.

Xcel Energy’s complete filing and related documents are available on the PUC’s website under Proceeding No. 24A-0296. Public comments can be submitted at any time through the PUC’s website. Specific dates and opportunities for public input will be determined as the procedural schedule is set.

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