About Wildfires


Guggenheim, PG&E

Fortnightly Magazine - June 2024

Wildfires, unfortunately, are increasingly becoming an issue for energy and utilities companies. Well-known fires have names such as the Camp Fire in California or the Lahaina fire in Maui, but there are too many more all over, in places like Canada and even Virginia recently.

It is a utility-wide problem and one that is expected to increase. Of course, utilities have been coming up with new ways to defend against wildfires but there is a cost.

Utilities now have public safety power shutoffs and design systems with sensors, so if fire meets the line, it automatically de-energizes as fast as one-tenth of a second. Expect that arsenal to grow, even with improvements in vegetation management and undergrounding of lines.

It also means that individuals have become experts on issues having to do with wildfires. Public Utilities Fortnightly’s Paul Kjellander and Steve Mitnick spoke with two of them. There is much to learn, and Guggenheim Securities’ Jim Schaefer and PG&E’s Mark Quinlan shared wisdom on these difficult issues.


Wildfires articles at fortnightly.com:

  • Jim Schaefer, Guggenheim Securities Senior Managing Director, Head of Energy Investment Banking
  • Mark Quinlan, PG&E Senior VP of Wildfire, Emergency, and Operations