CSAC Bulletin Article

CPUC Issues Decision on PSPS Mitigation for Utilities

July 8, 2021

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued D.21-06-034 on June 29 which adopts and revises the CPUC’s guidelines and rules for utilities regarding Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events to mitigate the risk of catastrophic wildfire caused by utility infrastructure. CSAC, along with several member counties and coalitions, participated in this proceeding and was able to secure several positive changes for counties.

Specific to the request from counties, the CPUC agreed that the investor-owned utilities (IOUs) must, upon request, provide lists of critical facilities and infrastructure customers to governments and other similar entities to ensure that the IOUs and governments mutually understand how the safety needs of critical facilities and infrastructure customers have been addressed. However, the decision only requires the IOUs to make these lists available on their secure PSPS web portals, and not in any other format, such as paper lists.

At the request of CSAC and its partners, the decision also emphasizes the importance of recent and ongoing emergency management experience. The new decision requires that the staff receive annual training to this effect.

Finally, the decision adopts a limited scope of CSAC recommendations that would have required IOUs to mitigate the loss of cell phone services where cell phones are the primary method of receiving evacuation warnings.  The Decision only requires the IOUs to provide device charging stations at the community resource centers.

For more information, please contact Catherine Freeman, cfreeman@counties.org.

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