CSAC Bulletin Article

Counties Receive $26 Million to Assist With PSPS Costs Now

October 31, 2019

Wildfire season has arrived in California in full force. Spanning multiple counties and policy areas, CSAC is actively engaged on wildfire issues on a daily basis. Specifically, CSAC has been advocating for funding to help counties with PSPS for several months including during this year’s budget negotiations. 

Most recently, the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services announced $26 million in available funding for California’s counties for advanced planning, training, coordination, and updating emergency plans, combined with infrastructure preparedness to help ease the burden of being without power for extended periods of time. This $26 million for counties came as part of this year’s budget allocation of $75 million to both the state and local governments to help prepare for PSPS events.

Yesterday, October 30th, CSAC held a webinar along with CAL OES staff to discuss PSPS issues and provide advice on how counties can use the allocated money and best practices in keeping track of reimbursable costs. On the webinar, CAL OES staff shared that funding is on its way to counties right now or literally that “the check was is in the mail.” In addition to the recent webinar, CSAC has also been collecting information regarding PSPS costs related to the most recent events. We had on original deadline for this request for information as November 1st, but given the most recent PSPS and fire events we will take this information whenever counties are able to send it.

In addition to advocating for resources, CSAC is also helping to facilitate daily PSPS informational calls between impacted counties and the three major IOUs from across the state and has convened an open discussions between counties, key state administrators, and representatives of Investor-Owned Utilities (IOUs) regarding Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) communications and procedures. CSAC also organized a regional meeting on the topic of emergency management and preparedness in Sonoma County. This regional meeting coincided not only with the two-year anniversary of the North Bay fires, but also occurred during a large PSPS event.

At the same time, CSAC has been closely tracking regulatory efforts at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to create rules for investor owned utilities during PSPS events. The CPUC’s unique rulemaking process and the significance of these regulations precipitated CSAC retaining outside counsel to engage in the rulemaking and file comments on behalf of counties. As a result, CSAC has actively engaged in this process and submitted several rounds of comments to the CPUC on both phase I and II of this process, based on significant county input. Comment letters are available on CSAC’s website. 

CSAC will continue to work on this key priority.

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