Project Initiation Meeting

Project Initiation Meeting
PUC Headquarters, Austin, Texas

This meeting was held December 12, 2013. See the bottom of this page for links to meeting handouts.

More than 4,000 power line-caused wildfires have occurred in Texas in the past three and a half years, costing the state and its citizens hundreds of millions of dollars. In response, the legislature has appropriated funds to demonstrate new technologies to mitigate wildfire risks and losses. A project initiation meeting was held Thursday, December 12, 2013, at PUC headquarters in Austin.


The Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) has developed power line-monitoring technologies to detect downed power lines, failing line apparatus, and arcing equipment that can cause fires. Preliminary work has shown that this technology, in concert with Texas A&M Forest Service fire-risk predictive models, can prevent many wildfires and provide more timely awareness of fires as they occur, facilitating rapid response. These two Texas owned and developed technologies have the potential to improve public safety, save lives, and significantly reduce wildfire-related property losses.

The Texas legislature has authorized and funded a two-year TEES project to demonstrate the effectiveness of its technology in selected high-risk fire areas. The success of the project will depend upon cooperation from many stakeholders: utility companies, local fire-response teams, and state agencies, including Emergency Management and the Public Utility Commission.

Public Utility Commission
1701 N. Congress, 7th Floor
Austin, TX 78701

Spaces are available at the Capitol Visitors Parking Garage, 1201 San Jacinto, located between Trinity and San Jacinto at 12th and 13th street.

Meeting Chair
Representative John Otto (District 18)

Representative Donna Howard (District 48)
Representative Kyle Kacal (District 12)
Representative Tim Kleinschmidt (District 17)
Representative John Raney (District 14)
Senator Kel Seliger (District 31)

Meeting Agenda
Thursday, December 12, 2013

10:00 – 10:10 a.m.
Welcome and Introductions
Representative John Otto
10:10 – 10:20 a.m.
State Emergency Management Perspective
Nim Kidd, Chief
Texas Division of Emergency Management
10:20 – 10:30 a.m.
The Problem and the Opportunity
Dr. B. Don Russell, Regents Professor
Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES)
10:30 – 10:45 a.m.
TFS Wildfire Risk Assessment Overview
Tom Boggus, Director
Texas A&M Forest Service (TFS)
10:45 – 11:10 a.m.
TEES Power Line Monitoring Technology Overview
Carl L. Benner, Assistant Director
Power System Automation Laboratory, TEES
11:10 – 11:20 a.m.
Project Methodology and Discussion of Utility Participation
Dr. B. Don Russell
11:20 – 11:50 a.m.
Q&A and Discussion
Dr. B. Don Russell
11:50 – 12:00 p.m.
Next Steps
Dr. B. Don Russell
12:00 p.m.


For additional information, please contact:
B. Don Russell
Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station

Carl Benner
Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station

Meeting handouts:

Presentation Materials – Dr. B. Don Russell and Carl L. Benner, Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (PDF)

Presentation Materials – Tom Boggus, Texas A&M Forest Service (PDF)

Handouts provided at meeting (PDF)