CPUC Wildfire Safety Division Recommends Approving Utility 2020 Wildfire Mitigation Plans With Conditions

SAN FRANCISCO, May 7, 2020 – The California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) Wildfire Safety Division today issued draft approvals (officially termed Draft Action Statements) of electric utility wildfire mitigation plans with additional requirements utilities must implement to increase safety and decrease the likelihood of catastrophic wildfires in 2020 and beyond.

In February 2020, utilities submitted and made public their wildfire mitigation plans for review by the CPUC’s Wildfire Safety Division. The CPUC’s 2020 Guidelines for utility wildfire mitigation plans raised standards, requiring utilities to provide clear analysis and data to support their wildfire safety proposals. The Wildfire Safety Division also developed innovative risk measurement tools, such as a “Maturity Model,” which evaluates the utilities’ wildfire risk mitigation efforts across 10 categories and 52 specific capabilities, and helps identify utility best practices and current strengths and weaknesses. The goal of the model is to provide a clear review and evaluation of utility capabilities that is focused on elevating and improving safety performance.

The Wildfire Safety Division’s approach has enhanced the state’s ability to conduct oversight of utility wildfire risk reduction by imposing clear requirements and expecting improvement each year.

The Wildfire Safety Division has determined that utilities are generally demonstrating progress in reducing wildfire risk for communities, in addition to meeting minimum statutory requirements for wildfire mitigation plans. Most utilities demonstrate a need for improvement, and those areas are itemized in individual Draft Action Statements and the accompanying Draft Resolutions described below.

In developing the Draft Action Statements issued today, the Wildfire Safety Division received input from the independent Wildfire Safety Advisory Board, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), public comments, and subject matter experts from across the CPUC.

Issued along with the Draft Action Statements is a Draft Guidance Resolution for public comment that outlines the common themes and framework the Wildfire Safety Division used to make its Draft Action Statement determinations, along with Draft Resolutions related to specific utilities, also available for public comment.

The Draft Resolutions will be on the CPUC’s June 11, 2020, Voting Meeting agenda. They are available at: www.cpuc.ca.gov/wildfiremitigationplans. Comments of no more than 20 pages in length for all Draft Resolutions combined are due on May 27, 2020, and should be sent to wildfiresafetydivision@cpuc.ca.gov and served on the service list for Rulemaking 18-10-007.

The CPUC regulates services and utilities, protects consumers, safeguards the environment, and assures Californians’ access to safe and reliable utility infrastructure and services. For more information on the CPUC, please visit www.cpuc.ca.gov.