Beginning January 1, 2026, Assembly Bill 944 (Irwin, D – Thousand Oaks) would require fire stations to have an alternative source of power to ensure continued operations for at least 96 hours during any type of power outage. Those alternative sources of power may include backup generators, large capacity batteries, and renewable electrical generation facilities. If using a backup generator, the facility must maintain sufficient fuel onsite (or arrange for fuel delivery contracts) to ensure continued operation for at least 96 hours.
Many areas of the state have been plagued by widespread and long duration power outages for the last several years. As utilities have shifted away from larger, preemptive Public Safety Power Shutoff outages, there have been a substantial increase in unplanned fast trip outages that, while smaller in scope, are far more frequent and dislocating for residents and communities. These outages, which are intended to reduce utility-caused wildfire risk, have impacted the ability of many critical local facilities to maintain operations.
RCRC strongly supported state budget augmentations that provided grants to local governments to procure backup generators; however, the need far outstripped the amount of funding available. RCRC supports local resiliency efforts and continues to push for utilities to harden their systems to reduce the size, scope, and frequency of wildfire prevention-related outages. It is unclear at this point how existing utility challenges to upgrade distribution infrastructure in a timely manner will impact the ability to meet the bill’s deadline.
RCRC has not yet taken a position on the measure. For more information or to provide feedback on how this requirement would impact your local operations, please contact John Kennedy, RCRC Policy Advocate.