On March 17th, RCRC joined Pioneer Community Energy, Sonoma Clean Power, Marin Clean Energy, and East Bay Community Energy on a panel at a CPUC workshop that takes a deep dive into the impacts that Fast Trip power outages (like PG&E’s Enhanced Powerline Safety Setting outages) are having on customers and communities.
RCRC joined those groups in July 2022 in a petition the CPUC to develop rules to ensure that utility fast trip outages are implemented in a manner that protects public health, safety, and welfare. Since then, the number of fast trip outages doubled to nearly 2,400 in PG&E’s service territory by the end of 2022.
RCRC’s presentation with the Joint CCAs can be found here. Stakeholders provided detailed accounts of just how dislocating and debilitating frequent outages can be for communities, noting that more than four dozen circuits experienced 12-20 outages last year, 12 circuits experienced 6 or more outages in a single month, and that many outages lasted longer than 12 hours (with some lasting nearly two days). RCRC Board Delegate, El Dorado County Supervisor Lori Parlin, whose constituents lost power 20 times in 2022, joined the workshop to express local concerns and frustrations and urge the commission to act.
RCRC noted that mitigation actions alone are insufficient and that the CPUC must ensure that utilities will take actions necessary to reduce the probability of future outages through vegetation management, installation of animal exclusion devices or covered conductor, line segmentation, etc. In a recent meeting with RCRC and CSAC counties, PG&E indicated that while they believe improvements will substantially reduce the number of customers impacted by each outage, they only expect a 2% reduction in the number of fast trip outages year over year.
For more information, or to learn how to participate in the workshop, please contact John Kennedy, RCRC Policy Advocate.