Transportation & Logistics International - Winter 2017 - 20
Pacific Gas & Electric Company
PG&E operates in a culture that is ever-ready for emergencies, from routine
power outages to more serious issues
such as weather disasters. Therefore,
PG&E's fleet has to be ready for action at
the drop of a hat. "Part of my job is working on catastrophic emergency response
during natural disasters. In our service
area, that could be severe storms, wildfires or earthquakes," Meisel explains.
"But in our role as a mutual aid responder to assist other utilities during emergencies, PG&E played an important role
in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. We
sent hundreds of vehicles and people.
Our people knew they were going to a
place in November with no heat, lights
or food and nowhere to sleep. But every
one of them packed up and headed there.
"I don't know a single person here
who doesn't believe they have a higher calling," he adds. "Everyone takes
heat and light for granted. When those
go away, the utility people are who fix
it. When you have something like a
hurricane, it takes a lot of people. We responded for 28 days. They left their families because someone needed their help.
That's always been the most impressive
part about our industry. Doing your job
simply because others need their help."
On top of that, PG&E has a deeply ingrained safety culture. Whether they are
working on something as critical as hurricane response or being up in a bucket
fixing a power line, the company ensures
its employees are safe and comfortable
while performing their jobs. "Every
person in our company has the ability to
say 'stop the job' if it's not safe," Meisel
notes. "We want to be productive, but we
won't sacrifice safety for productivity."
PG&E's vehicle needs and equipment
specifications are incredibly broad and
diverse, depending on the type of work
that needs to be tackled and how a vehi-
TLIMAGAZINE.COM WINTER 2017
// Electrifying the bucket controls allows
PG&E to reduce emissions from its trucks
idling when servicing power lines.
cle and the service workers are going to
get there. "Because of where we live, we
have every conceivable type of geography and typography: mountains, deserts,
sand, rocks, oceans," Meisel says. "We
have every situation and that creates a
need for a wide range of vehicle types
that other companies don't need to have.
It's what it takes to manage something
of this magnitude.
"When we go into the mountains, for
example, we're the largest single snow-
cat owner in the United States, with 80
or 90 snowcats."
PG&E operates a wide range of
vehicle types and styles, but it's always
looking to push the boundaries for new,
more innovative vehicles, especially
when it comes to clean air emissions.
"We are constantly pushing the automotive manufacturing industry to bring
new things to market," Meisel says.
"We're well ahead of them many times
and we develop our own products. We