Governor Newsom Demands Utilities Take Action to Protect Public Safety and Limit Impacts of Power Shutoffs

SACRAMENTO ‚Äď Amid utility-directed Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) impacting residents across the state, Governor Gavin Newsom today demanded that California‚Äôs Independently Owned Utilities (IOUs) adhere to previously agreed protocols for their power shutoff decisions and coordinate with state and local officials to protect public safety and limit impacts during these events. 

“Inconsistent application by all three of California‚Äôs Independently Owned Utilities (IOUs) of previously agreed protocols for PSPS actions, have undermined efforts to coordinate with first responders to protect public safety during these events,” wrote Governor Newsom in a letter to Pacific Gas and Electric, San Diego Gas and Electric, and Edison executives today. “Going forward, it is critical that your utilities adhere to the agreements and protocols to provide transparent and consistent notification to state and local government officials, to provide adequately resourced Community Resource Centers, and to plan for and meet the needs of your vulnerable customers.”

In their previously agreed protocols, the utilities committed to providing at least 72-hour notice of a potential PSPS decision to state and local government emergency management officials, an appropriate level of detail on the location and duration of potential PSPS impacts in a universal format, and adequately resourced and accessible services for Californians to seek and receive information and basic access to energy sources.

In a letter to Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) CEO William Johnson earlier this week, the Governor demanded that PG&E do more to provide information for customers and take action to reduce the number of customers impacted. Earlier this month, the Governor also urged PG&E to provide affected customers an automatic credit or rebate of $100 per residential customer and $250 per small business as some compensation for their hardships.

State and local governments have provided various technical and operational assistance to support Californians during these events, including the activation of local government Emergency Operation Centers, the dedication of state assets and personnel to ensure continuity of operations in services — including critical facilities and infrastructure operated by Caltrans, California Health and Human Services Agency, California Natural Resources Agency, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and Cal EPA — technical assistance to PG&E by the California Department of Technology, air support from CHP to help get the power back on as safely and as quickly as possible, and standby support from the California National Guard.

Read the Governor’s full letter to utility executives today here.

Since the first days of his administration, Governor Newsom has taken decisive action to protect Californians from wildfires:

  • Expedited wildfire prevention projects to protect 200 of California‚Äôs most wildfire-vulnerable communities.  
  • Awarded $20 million in block grants to improve forest health and increase fire resiliency.
  • Joined with Governors Kate Brown of Oregon and Jay Inslee of Washington in requesting President Trump double the federal government‚Äôs financial investment in managing federal forestlands in California, Washington and Oregon.
  • Deployed the California National Guard to assist CAL FIRE with emergency hazardous fuels-management projects.
  • Launched an ‚ÄúInnovation Procurement Sprint‚ÄĚ to get the most cutting-edge tools into the field and tackle the wildfire threat, resulting in two pilot projects to help modernize wildfire prevention and response.
  • Partnered with XPRIZE to design an incentive prize for innovation to battle wildfires.
  • Secured delegation of authority from the Secretary of Defense to fly Cal Guard‚Äôs infrared equipped Unmanned Aerial System in support of CAL FIRE missions.
  • Partnered with the federal government to secure state access to satellite-based technology to detect wildfire ignitions.
  • Accelerated publication of new Emergency Alert and Warning Guidelines, ahead of wildfire season.

Jonathan Gudel

Jonathan Gudel is a Public Information Officer for the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). Since joining Cal OES, he has assisted in the response and recovery efforts of the Aliso Canyon Gas Leak, the state's historic drought, the Oroville Dam Emergency Spillway Incident, unprecedented winter storms in 2017, the 2017 October (Sonoma County) and December (Santa Barbara County) wildfires, the Camp Fire in 2018, the 2020 statewide fire siege, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously, he worked in the newspaper industry for 12 years.

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