On Thursday, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) unanimously adopted Investor Owned Utility (IOU) Wildfire Mitigation Plans (Plans) for the 2019 fire season, as well as protocols on how De-Energization practices are to be conducted. Utilities are expected to increase their use of planned power outages – also known as De-Energization or Public Safety Power Shut-off (PSPS) events – in communities experiencing extreme weather events, like high winds and dry conditions, which could lead to wildfire.
The CPUC will have a second phase of the De-Energization proceeding focusing more comprehensively on PSPS practices, coordination with various state and local agencies, re-energization protocols, and other issues that build a better framework for de-energization procedures in the future. RCRC is a party to both the Wildfire Mitigations Plan and De-Energization proceedings with the CPUC, having taken action at its March 2019 meeting. These proceedings implement Senate Bill 901 (Dodd) passed in 2018 to deal with, in part, additional actions IOU’s should take to prevent catastrophic wildfires from occurring.