This week, RCRC submitted comments to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) responding to a proposal to update guidelines that govern Public Safety Power Shut-off (PSPS) events. PSPS events allow electrical utilities to proactively de-energize powerlines during extreme weather events to potentially ward off wildfire risk caused by electric infrastructure. RCRC acknowledges the need for strategic and thoughtful implementation of PSPS events as a last resort, but because of the far-reaching downstream consequences of electrical outages and unreliable power, PSPS events should be consistently executed and examined with robust oversight.
While RCRC originally anticipated that Phase 3 would focus on consolidating all of the existing rules into a single, standalone document, the CPUC instead decided that they need to make some significant adjustments to those rules first. RCRC supports many of the proposed changes and notes that they incorporate many of the suggestions offered by RCRC over the last year, including:
- Placement, operation, and services offered by Community Resource Centers
- Designation of food banks, local elections operations, and community centers
- Mitigation of impacts to sensitive populations
- Notification and reporting requirements
RCRC suggested the CPUC consider consolidating all the existing PSPS guidelines into one single general for simplicity and transparency. RCRC also suggested that the CPUC focus on pushing utilities to undertake actions to reduce the size, scope, duration, and frequency of PSPS events. RCRC’s comments can be accessed here.