CSAC Bulletin Article

Wildfire Safety Advisory Board Adopts Recommendations on 2021 Wildfire Mitigation Plan Guidelines

July 2, 2020

On June 24th, The Wildfire Safety Advisory Board adopted recommendations on the 2021 Utility Wildfire Mitigation Plan Guidelines, Performance Metrics, and Safety Culture. These recommendations meet the June 30th statutory obligation of AB 1054 (Holden 2019). In addition to creating the Wildfire Safety Advisory Board, the bill protected the rights of fire victims, created additional safety and oversight measures for utilities, and helped ensure that utilities are held accountable for the safety of their systems. CSAC strongly supported AB 1054 as part of our ongoing advocacy on wildfire prevention and protecting inverse condemnation claims to help victims and local governments recover from utility cause wildfires.

The recommendations offer a wholistic approach to wildfire mitigation. In accordance with the purpose of creating the Board, the recommendations encourage the Wildfire Safety Division and the investor-owned utilities to develop and share widely best practices for wildfire reduction, especially in the areas of Public Safety Power Shut-off mitigation, workforce development, and vegetation management. The 23 recommendations are organized into six different categories including:

  1. Structural recommendations that offer improvements to how the utility Wildfire Mitigation Plans are organized and the data that is reported;
  2. Recommendations that align with the guidance that the Wildfire Safety Division provided to utilities in Resolution WSD-002;
  3. Recommendations that go beyond what was identified in the Wildfire Safety Division’s Guidance Resolution WSD-002;
  4. Recommendations on performance metrics, including a new threshold for System Hardening for Electric Utility Resiliency (SHEUR) to reduce the need for Public Safety Power Shut-offs and a new approach to improve reporting on community outreach;
  5. Several recommendations that encourage the utilities to use wildfire mitigation planning and implementation as a springboard to improve their safety culture; and finally,
  6. Recommendations that would likely require action by the Governor or the Legislature to implement, such as a recommendation to keep the Wildfire Safety Division at the CPUC, which could save the State of California unnecessary expense of moving and allow the Division to focus on wildfire mitigation.

The Board’s recommendations are available here.

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