Governor Gavin Newsom today redoubled his call for fundamental change to PG&E and laid out a path forward to ensure the overly broad application of Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) will never happen again. After spending eight days on the road talking to Californians during the blackouts and wildfires and deploying state resources to help those impacted, the Governor outlined the State’s efforts to fight wildfires, protect vulnerable Californians and ensure that going forward, Californians can rely on their utility companies to provide safe, affordable, reliable and clean power.
His remarks were streamed live on the @CAgovernor Twitter page.
The Governor has traveled across the state, meeting with residents as they prepared for and endured extended power shutoffs and wildfires. He declared a statewide emergency due to the dangerous weather conditions and secured federal Fire Management Assistance Grants to bolster the response to the Hillside Fire, 46 Fire, Hill Fire, Easy Fire, Getty Fire, and the Kincade and Tick fires – for which he previously declared a state of emergency in Sonoma and Los Angeles counties.
The Governor this week launched a new resource site, RESPONSE.CA.GOV, which serves as a one-stop portal for resources available to Californians impacted by wildfires and power shutoffs, and highlighted community and business partnerships supporting impacted residents across the state. In recent days, the Governor met with emergency responders, volunteers, health officials, residents and state and local leaders in Shingle Springs, American Canyon, Los Angeles, Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Napa, Geyserville, and Shingle Spring. He held briefings regarding the ongoing fire threats and the need to hold utilities accountable for the consequences of their power shutoff decisions.
Wildfire Safety Advisory Board appointments
The Governor has also announced appointments to the California Wildfire Safety Advisory Board, California Catastrophe Response Council, and the Wildfire Safety Division at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), as outlined in wildfire safety and accountability legislation, AB 1054, he signed in July.
AB 1054 strengthens the ability of the CPUC to enforce wildfire safety rules – a central part of the Governor’s wildfire safety actions. It also mandated that utilities tie executive compensation to safety performance, invest $5 billion in safety improvements without profit, and go through a new yearly wildfire safety review and certification process. It also requires new inspections of utility electrical equipment. Under the law, utilities must create a wildfire safety committee in their corporate board, and provide direct board-level safety reporting to the CPUC.
Governor Newsom has called on the California Public Utilities Commission to immediately reform power shutoff rules and regulations as part of its investigation into the utility-led shutoffs. He has also announced a $75 million program for state and local governments to mitigate the impacts of power shutoffs and unveiled a series of new partnerships and new tools to help secure medically-vulnerable populations during these events.