CPUC opening investigation into PG&E's public safety power shutoffs

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Monday, October 28, 2019
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CPUC opening investigation into public safety power shutoffs

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) announced Monday that it's launching a formal investigation into PG&E's public safety power shutoffs this year.

"The CPUC will take a number of steps to ensure that the state's experience this year with PSPS is not repeated," the agency wrote in a press release.

They said that they would also re-examine how utilities, including PG&E, use public safety power shutoffs.

"This includes an examination of actions that utilities can take in the next six months to minimize impacts of future PSPS events by increasing grid redundancy, segmentation, and equipment hardening. "

The CPUC said that it will also ensure additional consumer protections, expand wildfire mitigation plans, and enlist new technological partnerships to minize the scope of public safety power shutoffs next fire season.

"The state cannot continue to experience PSPS events on the scope and scale Californians have experienced this month, nor should Californians be subject to the poor execution that PG&E in particular has exhibited," said President Marybel Batjer. "Through the actions announced today, as well as other steps under our regulatory purview, the CPUC will demand that utilities prepare for and execute PSPS events in a way that greatly reduces impacts on Californians."

Governor Gavin Newsom spoke about this development at a press conference Monday and also released this statement:

"I want to see the CPUC launch a total reform of power shutoff rules and regulations. Utilities must be held accountable and be aggressively penalized for their overreliance on PSPS, and the product of this investigation must be new rules and regulations to do that. I also want to see customers not charged for PSPS. It seems obvious, but under the current rules, utilities can do just that. It's unacceptable and must be remedied."

Governor Newsom last week issued a letter to executives of the state's three Investor-Owned Utilities demanding they adhere to previously-agreed protocols for PSPS decisions, and to coordinate with state and local officials to protect public safety and limit the impact of these events.

For the latest stories about PG&E's Public Safety Power Shutoff go here.