Amid utility-directed Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) impacting residents across the state, Governor Gavin Newsom today demanded that California’s Independently Owned Utilities (IOUs) adhere to previously agreed protocols for their power shutoff decisions and coordinate with state and local officials to protect public safety and limit impacts during these events.
“Inconsistent application by all three of California’s Independently Owned Utilities (IOUs) of previously agreed protocols for PSPS actions, have undermined efforts to coordinate with first responders to protect public safety during these events,” wrote Governor Newsom in a letter to Pacific Gas and Electric, San Diego Gas and Electric, and Edison executives today. “Going forward, it is critical that your utilities adhere to the agreements and protocols to provide transparent and consistent notification to state and local government officials, to provide adequately resourced Community Resource Centers, and to plan for and meet the needs of your vulnerable customers.”
In their previously agreed protocols, the utilities committed to providing at least 72-hours notice of a potential PSPS decision to state and local government emergency management officials, an appropriate level of detail on the location and duration of potential PSPS impacts in a universal format, and adequately resourced and accessible services for Californians to seek and receive information and basic access to energy sources.
In a letter to Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) CEO William Johnson earlier this week, the Governor demanded that PG&E do more to provide information for customers and take action to reduce the number of customers impacted. Earlier this month, the Governor also urged PG&E to provide affected customers an automatic credit or rebate of $100 per residential customer and $250 per small business as some compensation for their hardships.
State and local governments have provided various technical and operational assistance to support Californians during these events, including the activation of local government Emergency Operation Centers, the dedication of state assets and personnel to ensure continuity of operations in services — including critical facilities and infrastructure operated by Caltrans, California Health and Human Services Agency, California Natural Resources Agency, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and Cal EPA — technical assistance to PG&E by the California Department of Technology, air support from CHP to help get the power back on as safely and as quickly as possible, and standby support from the California National Guard.
The full text of the Governor’s letter can be read here.