• Office of the Safety Advocate

    The Office of the Safety Advocate (OSA) is a new Division within the CPUC created in response to Senate Bill 62 (Chapter 806, Statutes of 2016). 

    OSA is established to advocate, on behalf of the interest of public utility customers, for the continuous and cost-effective improvement of the safety management and safety performance of public utilities.  OSA is an advocacy unit within the CPUC staffed with engineers and policy analysts, who will:

    1) Intervene in CPUC proceedings to advocate for effective public utility safety management and infrastructure improvements and for the transparency of safety information; 

    2) Recommend improvements to the CPUC’s safety management policies and procedures to spearhead the CPUC’s safety culture transformation, and;

    3) Sponsor testimony and exhibits in CPUC proceedings on safety related risks to assist the CPUC in holding public utilities accountable for their safe operation.

  • Christopher Parkes, Director 

    Mr. Parkes joined the CPUC in 2003 as an engineer auditing and inspecting power plants in the Safety & Enforcement Division's (SED's) Electric Generation unit. In 2013 Mr. Parkes joined SED's utility Risk Assessment Section as a senior engineer supporting safety in CPUC proceedings. Through this experience, Mr. Parkes has developed an inquiring and creative approach to the entire panoply of safety issues, including safety management systems and the use of a safety culture to promote safety. Before coming to the CPUC, Mr. Parkes worked for more than 10 years as a Senior Project Engineer for Fisher Berkeley, a small healthcare communications manufacturing company. Mr. Parkes is an active member of the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He has a BSEE degree from UC Davis.    




    Highlights of OSA Work

    • August 2018
      • OSA submitted comments in response to the California Energy Commission's staff workshop that was held on July 25, 2018, pertaining to Research Needs on Wildfire: Ensuring Grid Resilience and Public Safety. OSA's recommendations addressed critical research needs of the state to drive development of effective mitigation programs to limit and reduce the enormous public safety impacts from wildfires. 
    • July 2018
      • OSA filed testimony in the PG&E 2019 Gas Transportation and Storage General Rate Case (A.17-11-009) advocating against PG&E's proposed natural gas storage strategy (NGSS). OSA also advocated for the implementation of safety management systems at independent storage providers if the NGSS is approved. 
      • OSA conducted cross examination of SoCalGas on the failure of Line 235 at Evidentiary Hearings for Sempra's General Rate Case (A.17-10-007 and A.17-10-008). 
      • OSA filed an Opening Brief and Reply Brief in the Wild Goose and Lodi Gas LLC Financing proceeding (A.18-02-013).
    • June 2018
      • OSA filed a Prehearing Conference Statement in the Wild Goose and Lodi Gas LLC Financing proceeding (A.18-02-013), identifying safety risks associated with underground storage facilities and urging the Commission to only approve the application with additional conditions to ensure funds contribute to safety. 
    • May 2018
      • OSA filed testimony highlighting safety risks and recommending safety management improvements for Sempra's General Rate Case (A.17-10-007 and A.17-10-008).
      • OSA filed comments in the PG&E Risk Assessment Mitigation Phase (RAMP) Investigation (I.17-11-003) highlighting specific areas for risk management improvement. 
      • The CPUC adopted at its Voting Meeting a settlement agreement between OSA and Gill Ranch Gas Storage (A.17-02-003). The settlement incorporates a number of important Safety Management features, including Chief Safety Accountability Officer, Comprehensive Safety Management System, a Safety Council to look at organizational risk, and Safety Culture Assessments. 
      • OSA filed a brief in the PG&E Safety Culture Investigation (I.15-08-019), proposing next steps for how the CPUC may develop and use metrics to hold the utility accountable to successfully implement multiple recommended corrective actions to improve safety culture and performance. 
      • OSA filed comments supporting a Proposed Decision to require utilities to report self-identified potential violations that pose a significant safety threat (R.14-05-013). 


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