CPUC Staff Propose Utility Penalties for Poor Execution of Certain 2020 PSPS Events
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), in ongoing efforts to hold utilities accountable for safely implementing Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events, today issued proposed Orders imposing corrective actions and more than $22 million in fines to be paid by the shareholders of Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) for violations related to 2020 PSPS events.
The Administrative Enforcement Orders penalize PG&E $12 million, SCE $10 million, and SDG&E $24,000. All three utilities, as well as PacifiCorp, have been directed to take specific corrective actions to ensure that future PSPS events comply with CPUC public safety and notification requirements.
The proposed Administrative Enforcement Orders are issued under the CPUC’s Enforcement Policy, which was adopted in November 2020 to better serve Californians through expeditious and efficient enforcement actions that can be taken by CPUC staff. Today’s action marks the first time the CPUC has used an Administrative Enforcement Order.
Under the Administrative Enforcement Orders, the utilities have 30 days to pay the fine to the State’s General Fund and make the corrective actions, or request a hearing.
The 2020 PSPS season consisted of 26 separate PSPS events across the service areas of all four utilities. The CPUC’s Safety and Enforcement Division conducts analysis of utility PSPS events to ensure utilities are complying with CPUC guidelines. The Safety and Enforcement Division’s analysis of the 2020 PSPS events uncovered multiple violations of CPUC PSPS guidelines. The Administrative Enforcement Orders issued today address these violations through fines and corrective actions.
The Administrative Enforcement Orders issued today and related documents are available at www.cpuc.ca.gov/regulatory-services/enforcement-and-citations.
The CPUC has taken a number of actions to ensure utilities continue to reduce the scope and duration of PSPS events and prioritize customer safety, including:
- Ordered utilities to forgo collection of revenues from customers that are associated with electricity not sold during future PSPS events until it can be demonstrated that utilities have made improvements in identifying, evaluating, weighing, and reporting public harm when determining whether to initiate a PSPS event.
- In 2019 and throughout 2020 required PG&E implement a series of actions to correct deficiencies in 2019 PSPS events.
- In May 2020, adopted refinements and improvements to existing PSPS guidelines and requirements in advance of the 2020 wildfire season.
- In early 2021, held public meetings for the utilities to report on lessons learned and to hear from impacted communities and access and functional needs communities on 2020 PSPS events. Additional public meetings were held in late 2021 for the utilities to report on their preparedness for the 2021 PSPS season.
- In early 2021, required Southern California Edison to implement a series of actions to correct deficiencies in 2020 PSPS events.
- In May 2021, adopted a decision penalizing PG&E $106 million for violating guidelines during Fall 2019 PSPS events.
- In early 2022, held public meetings for the utilities to report on their 2021 PSPS performance and lessons learned.
- Directed the utilities to hold numerous public, internal, and collaborative meetings in order to improve their preparation and execution of PSPS events.
The CPUC regulates services and utilities, protects consumers, safeguards the environment, and assures Californians’ access to safe and reliable utility infrastructure and services. For more information on the CPUC, please visit www.cpuc.ca.gov.