Risk Assessment and Safety Analytics

The mission of the Risk Assessment and Safety Analytics (RASA) section of the Safety Policy Division is to promote safety by ensuring that the regulated entities integrate risk analysis and risk management practices into their current operations, future planning, and decision-making processes. The section's professional engineers and analysts apply technical and regulatory policy expertise to a wide variety of Commission proceedings and initiatives in order to:
  • Identify, analyze, and mitigate present and potential risks in the natural gas & electric systems;
  • Promote risk-informed decision-making in Commission proceedings, particularly General Rate Cases; 
  • Coordinate with other Commission divisions, State and/or Federal agencies to promote safety in regulated utility operations and research expenditures;
  • Identify and promote new approaches to Risk Assessment and energy policy development through whitepapers, reports and presentations at industry conferences.


The Risk Assessment section of the Safety Policy Division is specifically tasked with monitoring proceedings and rate case testimony to ensure that relevant Safety concerns are adequately considered:

  • Identify safety concerns and issues that should be considered in new applications, rulemakings or investigations and provide recommendations to Commission decision-makers;
  • Refer to appropriate agencies with overlapping or parallel jurisdiction any Safety concerns that arise in proceedings and certain Ordering Paragraphs that assign follow-up and oversight tasks to SPD;
  • Monitor compliance with Commission decisions and Ordering Paragraphs that provide specific directions to RASA.


Risk-Based Decision-Making Framework (RDF)

The California Public Utilities Commission initiated Rulemaking (R.) 13-11-006 to prioritize safety while continuing carrying out the Commission's mandate to ensure that adopted rates are just and reasonable.  R. 13-11-006 incorporated a risk-based decision-making framework (RDF) into the Rate Case Plan (RCP) for the energy utilities’ General Rate Cases (GRCs) to consider how qualitative safety, reliability, and security issues can be connected to the quantitative decisions in the GRC, in which the utilities request funding for such safety-related activities. 

To increase transparency and accountability of how energy utilities are prioritizing and managing safety risks, the Commission required the large utilities to apply the RDF through two new filings, which feed into the GRC applications:

(1) Safety Model Assessment Proceeding (S-MAP); and

        (2) Risk Assessment Mitigation Phase (RAMP).

In R. 20-07-013, the Commission is currently considering ways to further develop the RDF that regulated energy utilities use to assess, manage, mitigate, and minimize safety risks. Read More.


Major Proceedings

Order Instituting Rulemaking to Further Develop a Risk-Based Decision-Making Framework (R.20-07-013)

RDF Rulemaking R. 20-07-013 considers ways to strengthen the risk-based decision-making framework that regulated energy utilities use to assess, manage, mitigate, and minimize safety risks. This rulemaking will build on requirements for a utility risk framework adopted in the first Safety Model Assessment Proceeding (first SMAP), Application 15-05-002 et al, and in Rulemaking 13-11-006, the Risk-Based Decision-Making proceeding.

Link to webpage: RDF Rulemaking R.20-07-013


PG&E Safety Reporting Mobile App Pilot (A. 19-07-019)

This proceeding seeks to determine whether customers and their smart phones can be enlisted as reliable contributors to report problematic electric utility hardware which may present a wildfire ignition risk.

Safety Model Assessment Proceeding (A.15-05-002, et al) After nearly a full year in which utilities and intervenors refined proposed methodologies for identifying, ranking and developing mitigations for top operational and safety risks, this S-MAP proceeding is targeted for completion during 2018.  In 2018, staff will be evaluating the utilities' risk assessment models for future use in RAMP and GRC cases, while finalizing policies for accountability reporting, safety performance metrics, and applying risk-informed ratemaking to smaller energy utilities.


Find documents for this proceeding here  

Gas Leak Abatement OIR (R.15-01-008)  In March 2018, respondent utilities will be filing their first mandatory compliance plans to incorporate the 26 Best Practices for methane leak detection, quantification and elimination, as ordered in D.17-06-015.  RASA staff will review and approve compliance plans and proposed pilots/R&D projects meant to contribute to the state's ambitious GHG reduction target.   Work continues on refining the annual report templates to meet changing informational needs, and working with the California Air Resources Board to revise emission factors to improve the utilities' reporting of emissions.

Find documents for this proceeding here 

Physical Security of the Electric Supply System (R.15-06-009)  By a 4-0 vote the Commission on January 22, 2019 approved the Physical Security Decision, D.19-01-018, making California the first state in the nation to adopt rules to guard its electric distribution grid against terrorist attack. In response, California’s electric utilities will begin preparing threat assessments and drafting security plans that identify “critical” assets and propose security mitigation measures. Adoption of D.19-01-018 marks another milestone in the CPUC’s Safety Policy Division carrying out the Legislature’s directives of SB 699 and PU Code 364 to ensure the security and resilience of those electric grid assets subject to Commission oversight.

Find documents for Phase 1 of this proceeding here

Water and Electric Utilities Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Response – Coordination with Local Governments (R.15-06-009, Phase 2)  A second phase of the R.15-06-009 rulemaking that responds to AB 1650, and Section 768.6 to the Public Utilities Code is in progress. These directives require, among other things, that water and electric utilities develop disaster and emergency preparedness plans, and seek local government input so as to improve communication with the public, and mitigate the effects of catastrophic events. A scoping memo outlining the priorities to be addressed and prescribing a series of public workshops has been made available. 

Find documents for Phase 2 of this proceeding here 

Rulemaking to Develop and Adopt Fire-Threat Maps and Fire-Safety Regulations (R.15-05-006) The adoption of new and revised regulations for high-fire zone areas in December 2017 (D. 17-12-024) and the adoption of the new Fire Map 2 together established a new regulatory structure for preventing utility-involved wildfires.  RASA will continue working with Cal FIRE and utilities to further refine maps and assess new policy directions.

Find documents for this proceeding here

Vehicle Electrification (A.17-01-020/-021/-022) The Commission has approved a RASA-proposed structure for Safety Plans for new electric vehicle "priority plans", and may extend work on safety to technical working groups.

Find documents for this proceeding here

Investigation into Safety Culture of Pacific Gas and Electric Company and PG&E Corp. (I.15-08-019) With the completion of NorthStar's report and recommendations, the investigation is expected to enter into hearings in 2018. Testimony from PG&E and parties is expected to help define the potential actions that the Commission may consider, with possible evidentiary hearings. 

Find documents for this proceeding here


Risk Assessment Documents Archive

Currently Under Construction  



  • In order to help close out two major proceedings (PG&E 2014 GRC and Risk-Informed Ratemaking OIR) RASA staff analyzed over 50 consultants’ report recommendations to determine whether they were being addressed in related proceedings or if further action was required. In November, 2015, this analysis was incorporated into an Assigned Commissioner’s ruling in R.13-11-006 deferring residual matters into proceedings listed above (esp. PG&E 2017 GRC, SMAP and Leak Abatement).
  • For recent documents in the Order Instituting Rulemaking to Adopt Rules and Procedures Governing Commission-Regulated NaturalGas Pipelines and Facilities to Reduce Natural Gas Leakage Consistent with SB 1371 (the methane leak proceeding -- R.15-01-008) click here
  • For presentations from previous workshops in the Safety Model Assessment Proceeding (SMAP) (A.15-05-002 et al.) click here
  • For information on fire safety and best practices for the safety of energy storage click here

  Recent Reports and Other Work Products


 Recent Documents