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PSPS Preparation

Electric Utility 2021 Staff Briefings for Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) Preparation

Utilities presented Staff Briefings to CPUC staff in June/July 2021 on their preparedness for PSPS events. Six electric utilities provide power in California. Five of the six utilities presented their plans to the CPUC staff in Staff Briefing #1. Following that briefing, utilities responded to staff data requests in Staff Briefing #2. 

PG&E Preparations for PSPS

Staff Briefing #1

Staff Briefing #2

SDG&E Preparations for PSPS

Staff Briefing #1

Staff Briefing #2

SMJU (PacifiCorp, Liberty, Bear Valley) Preparations for PSPS

Staff Briefing #1

Staff Briefing #2

 

Electric Utility 2020 Planning for Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS)

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E)’s biweekly reports on PSPS preparation as ordered by President Batjer in a January 30, 2020 ruling are filed in the Commission’s rulemaking addressing de-energization for all electric utilities. Visit the Docket Card (R.18-12-005) to view PG&E’s biweekly reports (and other proceeding documents) and make comment on the proceeding.

 

History and Background

Over the last decade, California has experienced increased, intense, and record-breaking wildfires in Northern and Southern California. These fires have resulted in a devastating loss of life and billions of dollars in property and infrastructure damage. Electric utility infrastructure has historically been responsible for less than 10% of reported wildfires. However, fires attributed to power lines consist of roughly half of California history’s most destructive fires. With the continuing threat of wildfire, utilities may proactively cut power to electrical lines that may fail in certain weather conditions. Such power cuts reduce the risk of their infrastructure to cause or contribute to a wildfire. This effort is called a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS). However, a PSPS can leave communities and essential facilities without power, which brings its own risks and hardships, particularly for vulnerable communities and individuals. From 2013 to the end of 2019, California experienced over 57,000 wildfires (averaging 8,000 per year), and the three large energy companies conducted 33 PSPS de-energizations.

In 2012, we ruled that California Public Utilities Code Sections 451 and 399.2(a) give electric utilities authority to shut off the electric power to protect public safety. This allows the energy companies (SDG&E, PG&E, SCE, Liberty, Bear Valley, and PacifiCorp) to shut off power to prevent fires when strong winds, heat events, and related conditions are present.

In 2017, fires raged in Santa Rosa, Los Angeles, and Ventura, making it one of California’s most devastating wildfire seasons. In response to the 2017 wildfires and Senate Bill (SB) 901, we revised earlier guidelines on the de-energization of power lines and adopted the most current set of PSPS guidelines on June 24, 2021 in Decision (D.) 21-06-034.


Related Information

August 31, 2021: President Batjer's letter to PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E and SMJUs re: August 2021 Public Safety Power Shutoff Public Briefings

June 25, 2021: Executive Director's Letter to PG&E re: Implementation of Tree Overstrike Criteria