Home | News Room | News Blog

CPUC News Blog

Ensuring Essential Communications Support for Consumers in the Wake of a Disaster

 Permanent link   All Posts

In our ongoing efforts to strengthen consumer protections, we adopted an emergency disaster relief program for customers of communications service providers in the wake of a disaster.

At our Voting Meeting on Thursday, August 15, 2019, the Commissioners approved an emergency disaster relief program to ensure that wireline and wireless customers who experience a housing or financial crisis due to a disaster keep vital telecommunications services and receive support.

Communications service providers are now required to implement the emergency disaster relief protections for customers in affected areas in which a State of Emergency is called by the Governor of California or the President of the United States. This means that in the case of future disasters, consumers will automatically be protected under those circumstances until the emergency is concluded.

"These consumer protections for communications customers provide a minimum set of protections for helping communities deal with the wrenching aftermath of disasters," said Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves. "These protections include expanded access to 2-1-1, waiver of call forwarding fees, and providing Wi-Fi and loaner phones for customers in shelters."

"I support the consumer protections this decision proposes to assist to those affected by disasters and the proposals to keep communication lines open in times of need," said Commissioner Genevieve Shiroma.

We also took action today to establish a customer outreach plan to educate Californians about 211 services. This service may be particularly valuable during an emergency because it can provide an easy and accessible way to disseminate disaster-specific information. For example, 211 service could assist residents of affected areas in accessing information about evacuation, shelter, food, medical, and recovery services.

Furthermore, the interim protections for California LifeLine participants adopted in D.18-08-004 remain in effect until permanent protections for the California LifeLine Program are adopted separately in Phase 2 of this proceeding.

The CPUC's actions help ensure that the State can effectively respond to disasters that affect utility service, and addresses important consumer issues faced by communities across a range of potential threats and emergencies.

Our recent vote does not change any of the notice, communication, outreach or other requirements of the CPUC's ongoing Wildfire Mitigation Plan and De-Energization proceedings.

Read the proposal voted on.

View documents related to the proceedings.

Read our most recent blog postings in the sidebar at right.

Immigration Guide