On November 8th, several legislators sent a letter to the Public Utilities Commission urging it to grant a motion filed by RCRC, East Bay Community Energy, Pioneer Community Energy, Sonoma Clean Power, and Marin Clean Energy to develop a regulatory framework for large electric utilities’ fast trip outages.
There have been more than 2,200 fast trip power outages in PG&E service territory this year, with the vast majority of those outages occurring between May and October. While PG&E’s fast trip settings have significantly reduced the number of utility-caused wildfire ignitions, they have also had a debilitating impact on roughly 1.5 million to 2 million customers – particularly in El Dorado, Napa, Placer, San Luis Obispo, Santa Cruz, and Sonoma Counties.
PG&E has commendably reduced the average outage duration from six hours to three hours per event; however, 104 of the 487 circuits impacted in September (and 58 of the 319 circuits impacted in October) were deenergized for more than eight (8) hours. Worse yet, dozens of circuits are still experiencing outages lasting 16 hours or more.
In their letter, Senators Bill Dodd, John Laird, Brian Dahle, Jim Nielsen, and Assembly Members Jim Wood, Megan Dahle, and James Gallagher stressed that “Californians cannot be forced to choose between a safe or reliable electrical grid” and urged the Commission to take action and develop a regulatory framework similar to what was established for Public Safety Power Shutoff events. Senator Andres Borgeas also sent a letter requesting Commission action.
PG&E’s response to the Commission can be found here.
For more information, contact RCRC Policy Advocate John Kennedy.