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Cities Affected by Utility-Initiated Power Shutoffs Encouraged to Engage in CPUC Proceedings

November 25, 2019
In October, numerous cities and towns across the state had their power turned off by their investor-owned utility as a preventative measure against starting a wildfire. 
 
Theses utility-initiated power shutoffs, also known as Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS), occurred multiple times in certain areas of the state. As a result of these and previous shutdowns, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has opened a proceeding to develop guidelines and procedures for future utility-initiated power shutoffs. If your city would like to submit comments in the upcoming proceeding, the city should become a party to the proceeding by following CPUC’s instructions.
 
Background
On Dec. 13, 2018, the CPUC opened a Rulemaking (R.18-12-005) to examine utilities’ use of utility-initiated power shutoffs, including utility-initiated power shutoff processes and practices, the impacts utility-initiated power shutoffs have on communities, efforts to reduce the need for utility-initiated power shutoffs, and utility-initiated power shutoffs reporting requirements. On May 30, 2019, the CPUC made a decision in the proceeding, changing utility communication and notification protocols.
 
On Aug. 14, 2019, the CPUC opened a second phase (Phase 2) in R.18-12-005 to address additional aspects of the utilities’ utility-initiated power shutoffs processes and practices and to expand upon its May 30, 2019 decision. Parties submitted opening comments in Phase 2 on Sept. 17, 2019 and responses on Oct. 15, 2019.
 
However, on Oct. 28, 2019, in light of the recent PSPS events, the CPUC suspended Phase 2. The CPUC will issue a new scoping memorandum in R.18-12-005 to re-examine the current utility-initiated power shutoffs guidelines and the use of PSPS by investor-owned utilities in the near future. There is no current deadline for cities to become a party and submit comments on this proceeding.
 
To learn more about the CPUC’s efforts relating to utility-initiated power shutoffs, visit www.cpuc.ca.gov/deenergization/. Proceeding documents are available on the Docket Card


 
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