California regulators have proposed revenue losses and corrective actions for the state’s three major investor-owned electric utilities because of alleged violations in staging numerous planned power outages in 2019.
The five-member California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) plans to vote on the proposed decision (PD) on May 20 as the culmination of its ongoing investigation of the utilities’ handling of public safety power shutoff (PSPS) events during wildfires.
The PD “focuses, among other things, on correcting future utility planning and implementation to drive utilities to safely execute any future PSPS events,” said spokesperson Terrie Prosper.
The PD cited revenue forfeitures from customers impacted by the PSPS events until “it can be demonstrated that utilities have made improvements in identifying, evaluating, weighing, and reporting public harm when determining whether to initiate a [shutoff] event.”
In implementing the PSPS events last year, the three utilities to different degrees had “ineffective coordination with public safety partners, inadequate consideration of the access and functional needs of communities, and lack of reasonable consideration of the public safety risks caused by PSPS events,” the PD said.
The CPUC called out the alleged shortcomings of Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E), Southern California Edison Co. (SCE), and San Diego Gas and Electric Co. (SDG&E), citing insufficient communications, mapping and transparency among them.
“PG&E experienced communication network outages and lack of coordination of appropriate back-up power; SCE provided illegible maps depicting PSPS event boundaries to the public; and SDG&E did not provide sufficient information on how it considered geographic and cultural demographics when developing a notice strategy,” according to the PD.
“Since the 2019 PSPS events, the CPUC has taken a series of ongoing actions to further ensure utilities continue to reduce the scope and duration of PSPS events and prioritize customer safety,” Prosper said.
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