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December 17, 2019 – Through a Ruling issued yesterday, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is taking steps to ensure that the 2020 wildfire mitigation plans that utilities will submit focus on increasing the safe performance of utilities, reducing the need for Public Safety Power Shut-off events, creating more resilient communities, and providing results to help mitigate wildfires and their impacts on Californians.

The Ruling issued today seeks review and comment from parties to the CPUC’s Utility Wildfire Mitigation Plans proceeding (R.18-10-007) on templates and other evaluative materials on which the CPUC will rely in 2020. The CPUC has developed a new process for submission and evaluation of utility wildfire mitigation plans in 2020 that will use 2019 data as a baseline and use a “maturity model” to evaluate electrical corporations’ progress over time in mitigating the risk of catastrophic wildfire.

The Ruling and templates are available at www.cpuc.ca.gov/SB901.

Assembly Bills 1054 and 111 provide for a transition of the wildfire mitigation plans work previously handled in a formal proceeding before an Administrative Law Judge to a process run by the newly created Wildfire Safety Division at the CPUC. It is expected that Wildfire Safety Division’s work in 2020 will result in lessons that cause further refinement of the process for subsequent years. 

Parties to this proceeding may comment no later than Jan. 7, 2020. 

Members of the public who would like to provide comment may email public.advisor@cpuc.ca.gov and reference proceeding number R.18-10-007. 

Wildfire mitigation plans are due from the utilities on Feb. 7, 2020. 

Background

Pursuant to Senate Bill 901 (2018), the CPUC has required electrical corporations to submit wildfire mitigation plans assessing the level of wildfire risk and outlining their plans to address this risk. The Wildfire Safety Division and the Safety and Enforcement Division will determine whether or not the actions proposed by each utility are appropriate to address the level of risk identified and whether the plan will put the utility on a path to achieving the CPUC’s long-term wildfire risk-reduction goals.

California’s investor-owned electric utilities submitted their first wildfire mitigation plans to the CPUC in 2019. Based on lessons learned from the 2019 submissions and the 2019 wildfire season, the CPUC’s Wildfire Safety Division and the Safety and Enforcement Division are implementing changes to the wildfire mitigation plan process.The revised Wildfire Mitigation Plans Guidelines represent a milestone in the evolution of the wildfire mitigation plans process and are intended to aid in the evaluation of utilities’ wildfire mitigation efforts and ensure consistency with the CPUC’s long-term wildfire goals.