The California Public Utilities Commission issued a letter to Pacific Electric and Gas on Monday, October 14 to take “immediate corrective actions” to fix significant problems with communication, coordination and management during the Public Safety Power Shutoffs.
The letter outlined several major areas where immediate corrective actions are required, including changing the power restoration goal to less than 12 hours from PG&E’s current 48-hour goal, improving efforts to minimize the size and magnitude of future PSPSs, developing systems and protocols to ensure public information through call centers and PG&E’s website remains available during high-volume, critical times.
CPUC also required PG&E to improve communications with government emergency management personnel, improve processes and systems for distributing maps with boundaries to impacted counties and tribal governments, to develop a list of existing and possible future agreements for on-call resources that can be used in case of an emergency and ensuring PG&E personnel involved in the PSPS stationed in Emergency Operations Centers are trained in California’s Standardized Emergency Management System.
“Failures in execution, combined with the magnitude of this PSPS event, created an unacceptable situation that should never be repeated,” stated CPUC President Marybel Batjer. “The scope, scale, complexity and overall impact to people’s lives, businesses and the economy of this action cannot be understated.“
Batjer also directed PG&E to perform a review of the recent PSPS, provide the review to CPUC by the end of business on Thursday, October 17 and file weekly updates on the corrective actions until all of the cited issues are resolved. CPUC will hold an emergency meeting on Friday, October 18, available live and archived at adminmonitor.com/ca/cpuc.
Governor Gavin Newsom sent a letter in response to CPUC’s inquiry, thanking the regulator for looking into PG&E. Newsom called the PSPS a “direct result of decades of PG&E prioritizing profit over public safety, mismanagement, inadequate investment into fire safety and fire prevention measures and neglect of critical infrastructure.”
He went on to state he was disappointed in the power company, pointing out that PG&E admitted they were not adequately prepared for the outages. Additionally, Newsom urged PG&E to provide affected customers an automatic credit or rebate of $100 per residential customer and $250 per small business.
“Californians should not pay the price for decades of PG&E’s greed and neglect,” said Newsom. “PG&E’s mismanagement of the power shutoffs experienced last week was unacceptable. We will continue to hold PG&E accountable to make radical changes – prioritizing the safety of Californians and modernizing its equipment.”