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'Smart' boxes from PG&E installed in hopes of reducing power outages

By Tyler May, tmay@krcrtv.com
Published On: Jul 29 2013 08:05:44 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 29 2013 08:06:30 PM CDT
CHICO, Calif -

Three new 'smart boxes' were installed by PG&E on Monday in Chico.

The hope, PG&E says, is fewer people will lose power during a black out. PG&E said these boxes will help re-route electricity during a power outage.   

Officials also said that when there is a problem, the smart boxes will allow workers to arrive on the scene more efficiently. The boxes are installed on the half way point of a power pole and crews were installing one of the three new boxes on E. First and Arbutus Avenues.

PG&E said this will cut down on the time crews spend finding problems when they happen.

"These switches constantly monitor power conditions,” said PG&E spokesman Paul Moreno.  “They know exactly the distance of a power outage problem point such as a down wire. They can open up switches, isolate that trouble spot and then re-route power to pick up most customers who are affected by that outage."

All together, these three boxes cost around $500,000. The other boxes are installed on the corner of Pine and 6th Streets and near the Mangrove Plaza.

PG&E said some customers will experience some power inference during testing of the new boxes, but they said those affected should already know about it after receiving letters from the company.