PG&E on Monday was set to begin conducting aerial inspections of its power lines via helicopters in Sonoma County.
The utility says the helicopter flights are designed to improve its Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) program by making events smaller in size, shorter in length and smarter for its customers.
"I completely understand the impact that shutting off the power makes on our community, especially to our vulnerable customers, especially during these uncertain times," PG&E spokeswoman Deanna Contreras said. "So that's why we’re doing these pre-inspections, to make these PSPS events shorter and restore power within 12 daylight hours because we know the importance of power right now."
PG&E plans to fly several helicopters along power lines throughout the North Bay to practice response during a future PSPS event. The flights will continue through August, the utility said.
The helicopters will fly low, roughly at 100 feet altitude, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, but not necessarily every day, the utility said. Flights will depart the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport.
Helicopters are expected in the areas of Cloverdale, Geyserville, Fitch Mountain, Windsor, Sonoma, Penngrove, Lakeville and Santa Rosa (east of Highway 101) this week. Flights will occur in Cotati and West Sonoma County areas (Fort Ross, Monte Rio) starting next week, PG&E said.