Following a unanimous vote last week by RCRC’s Board of Directors to initiate the action, On Monday, RCRC staff submitted motions for party status for two key California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) Proceedings – De-Energization and Senate Bill 901 (Dodd) Wildfire Mitigation Plans. The CPUC is undertaking both actions in response to catastrophic wildfire events that have been directly linked to power lines and other utility equipment, most notably the 2017 Thomas Fire, and many of the fires in the Northern California wine country in 2017.
SB 901, which was passed into law last year, mandated the development of wildfire mitigation plans by investor-owned utilities, while CPUC has initiated the development of official de-energization procedures for prevention of wildfires during hazardous weather conditions.
RCRC will be participating in both proceedings to provide a rural perspective on the catastrophic wildfires and ensure utilities have comprehensive plans for public power shut-offs and reduced wildfire ignitions through proper vegetation management and fire hardening protocols. It is imperative that the CPUC develop utility rules that meet community needs in rural fire-prone areas. The CPUC has targeted the end of April 2019 to have a proposed decision in the De-Energization Proceeding regarding notice and communications issues, and in May 2019 for approval of utility Wildfire Mitigation Plans.