Introduction to the Electric and Communication Infrastructure Audits

The Electric and Communication Facility Safety Section (ECFSS) regularly audits the electric and communications systems of utilities. ECFSS staff reviews the maintenance and inspection programs for the overhead and underground facilities required by GO 95 and GO 128.  Our staff also oversees all electric distribution utilities’ inspection programs as required by GO 165.  

In the event violations are found, letters listing detailed issues with relevant rules are issued requesting corrective actions. Follow-up audits may be conducted to verify compliance.  

Recent Audit Reports

Archived Audit Reports - prior to 2017 

Note: The requirements of GO 95 and 128, other than Rule 12.3, are not retroactive.  Therefore, any overhead facilities constructed or reconstructed in California prior to July 1, 1942 may not adhere to all rules in GO 95.  In addition, any underground facilities constructed or reconstructed in California prior to December 12, 1967 may not adhere to all rules in GO 128. 

 

Electric Audit Information

Electric audits are conducted to ensure that an electric utility is following the construction, maintenance, and inspection requirements outlined in GOs 95, 128, 165, and 174.  

Electric audits are comprised of three different types of audits: 

  • Distribution (between 4 and 35 kilovolts) – GOs 95, 128, and 165 
  • Transmission (above 35 kilovolts)  – GO 95, 128, and 165 
  • Substation  – GO 174 

ESRB staff normally conducts audits of electric utilities, or in the case of large utilities, their regional units every five years.  ESRB may increase the frequency of audits based on any significant problems found.  A typical audit lasts five days, depending on the size of the utility or unit. 

During an audit, ESRB engineers review utility records and perform field inspections of utility facilities. The primary focus of the records review is to check the utility for compliance with General Order requirements and to find systemic problems in the utility’s compliance procedures. The field inspection focuses on verifying records provided by the utility and on performing quality assurance on the work done by utility employees. 

Within 30 days of the audit, ESRB issues an audit summary to the utility. The summary includes all violations noted during the audit and an explanation of the finding. Utilities have 30 days to respond to the audit summary with a plan to correct all noted violations. 

 

Communication Infrastructure Provider (CIP) Audit Information

ESRB's goal is to ensure all communication providers comply with the construction and maintenance requirements of GOs 95 and 128. ESRB determines CIP audit cycles based on the severity of non-compliance issues found within a CIP. These types of audits typically last five days. The CIP audit is similar to an electric audit where ESRB engineers conduct a comprehensive records review, verify equipment conditions in the field, and look for systemic procedural problems. ESRB notifies the CIP of violation within 30 days of the audit and requires the CIP to respond with a corrective action plan. 

ESRB audits CIPs separately from electric utilities. Unlike electric utilities, CIPs are not bound by the inspection requirements outlined in GO 165. Prior to 2009, CIP inspection procedures were largely based on GO 95 Rules 31.1 and 31.2, and GO 128 Rules 17.1 and 17.2. that required CIPs to inspect their facilities, but did not specify inspection intervals. On August 20, 2009, CPUC adopted D.09-08-029 which required CIPs to conduct visual inspections of their facilities in high and very high fire threat zones in Southern California by September 2010. D.09-08-029 additionally amended GO 95 to include Rule 18. Rule 18 in part requires CIPs to create a maintenance plan to correct problems discovered on their systems.