CSAC Bulletin Article

Legislators Turn Attention to Public Safety Power Shutdown in the Legislative Session

January 23, 2020

Given the massive disruption to local communities caused by Public Safety Power Shutdowns (PSPS) during the past fire season, many Legislators have introduced new bills aimed at improving the current PSPS process. In addition to tracking these newly introduced bills, CSAC is actively engaged in multiple rulemakings at the CPUC, has successfully advocated for more funding to deal with community impacts of PSPS, and has convened meetings with key PSPS stakeholders from across the state. CSAC will continue to monitor this legislation as it moves through the Legislative process.

AB 1915 (Chu): This bill would require the CPUC to develop rules setting forth the circumstances under which a PSPS event may be undertaken as authorized through an approved wildfire mitigation plan. This bill would also require the CPUC to determine if an electrical corporation complied with the rules and determine if the event was reasonable.

AB 1916 (Chu): This bill would require an electrical corporation, by July 1, 2021, to conduct a survey of its customers asking each customer the language in which the customer prefers to receive direct communications from the electrical corporation and to list any medical needs that would require accommodation during a deenergization event. The bill would require the electrical corporation to provide direct communications and updates regarding the intentional deenergization of the electrical corporation’s distribution and transmission system to each affected customer in the preferred language of that customer.

AB 1936 (Rodriguez): This bill would apply price gouging prohibition and penalties upon an announcement of a public safety power shutoff, as defined, by an official, board, or other governing body authorized to make that announcement in any county, city, or city and county

SB 753 (Stern): Current law permits an authorized employee of a county social services department to disclose the name and residential address of elderly or disabled clients to police, fire, or paramedical personnel, or other designated emergency services personnel, in the event of a public safety emergency that necessitates the possible evacuation of the area in which those elderly or disabled clients reside. Current law specifies that public safety emergencies include, but are not limited to, events that jeopardize the immediate physical safety of county residents. This bill would additionally permit those individuals’ telephone numbers and e-mail addresses to be disclosed and would specifically identify a public safety power shut-off as a public safety emergency.

SB 801 (Glazer): This bill would require an electrical corporation to deploy backup electrical resources or provide financial assistance for backup electrical resources to a customer receiving a medical baseline allowance if the customer meets those conditions.

SB 802 (Glazer): This bill would require an air district to adopt a rule or revise its existing rules, consistent with federal law, to allow a health facility that has received a permit from the district to construct and operate an emergency backup generator to use that emergency backup generator during a deenergization event without having that usage count toward any time limitation on actual usage and routine testing and maintenance included as a condition for issuance of that permit.

SB 858 (Beall): This bill would exclude from the definition of a thermal powerplant, that is subject to the jurisdiction of the commission, an emergency backup or stationary generator that is not connected to the electrical grid and that is constructed, operated, or modified to provide immediate electrical power to maintain the operations of a data center in the event of an outage of electricity from the electrical grid.

SB 862 (Dodd): This bill would include a planned deenergization event, as defined, within conditions constituting a state of emergency and a local emergency.

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