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CSAC Provides Testimony at Legislative Wildfire Mitigation and PSPS Oversight Hearing

March 5, 2020

The Assembly Utilities and Energy Committee held an informational oversight hearing Thursday regarding Investor Owned Utility (IOUs) Wildfire Mitigation Plans and Public Safety Power Shutdowns. During the hearing San Diego Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric provided detailed descriptions and updates about their wildfire mitigation plans and Public Safety Power Shutdown procedures. These plans are subject to review and approval by the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC).  Mitigation efforts discussed by the IOUs included increased vegetation management near powerlines, development of segmented circuits, improved weather monitoring, and an increased in inspections of lines in high fire threat areas.

CSAC staff attended the hearing and provided public comment. CSAC’s comments urged both the Committee and IOU representatives to put a priority on mitigation efforts as discussed and to consider the use of PSPS as a tool of last resort. CSAC staff also urged that in the event that a PSPS became necessary, that the IOUs must provide reliable, accurate and timely information to local governments; coordinate more closely with local governments before, during and after PSPS events; and improve the location and availability of community resource centers in the event of a shutdown.

CSAC urges counties to review your IOU’s wildfire mitigation plans and provide public comments to CPUC’s Wildfire Safety Division by the deadline of April 7, 2020. IOU submitted wildfire mitigation plans can be found below:

Comments can be emailed to wildfiresafetydivision@cpuc.ca.gov. If providing comments, please email a copy to Nick Cronenwett at ncronenwett@counties.org.

Improving outcomes in PSPS events and wildfire mitigation efforts are a priority topic at CSAC. In addition to tracking legislation on this topic, CSAC has also engaged outside counsel to track several PSPS and wildfire mitigation rulemakings currently underway at the California Public Utilities Commission. If you have any questions, please feel free to email Legislative Analyst Nick Cronenwett at ncronenwett@counties.org.

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