In recent years, Southern California Edison (SCE) has focused most of its wildfire mitigation projects around the prevention of electrical faults by such measures as installing covered conductor and insulating spacers between phase conductors. These methods are highly effective at reducing the probability of ignition by fault avoidance, particularly for contact-related faults and those involving two or more phase conductors. These measures prevent the majority of but not all incidents, particularly equipment-failure-related faults.
SCE needed additional transformative measures to minimize the chance of a fire when an unforeseen event occurs, such as a car hitting a pole, a transformer failing from a manufacturing defect or a large tree falling into a power line. This session will share how SCE benchmarked itself with utilities in the Australian state of Victoria, one of the most fire-prone areas in the world, to learn how rapid earth fault current limiters (REFCLs) can reduce the risk of ignition by faults involving a single phase conductor.