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California Utility Regulator to Hold 'De-Energization' Workshop in Santa Rosa

Dec 4, 2018
by Will Carruthers

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Facing pressure from activistslawmakers and lawyers, for the role of public utilities in recent California wildfires, the California Public Utilities Commission will host a workshop next Friday to discuss the possible effects of regulations allowing utilities to shut off power during periods of high fire risk.

In July, the CPUC strengthened public outreach requirements when a utility shuts off electric power to protect public safety, a process called "de-energization." However, PG&E has received criticism for its outreach procedures during recent de-energization procedures.

In October, after PG&E shut off power to approximately 17,000 Napa, Sonoma and Lake county residents due to dangerous weather conditions, customers and elected officials criticized the utility's communication procedures.

“These mandatory power outages may be part of our new reality, but there needs to be some improvement on the approach, in particular clear, accurate and timely information,”State Senator Mike McGuire told the Press Democrat at the time.

The Santa Rosa workshop, and another meeting in Southern California, is intended to "address potential impacts of utility de-energization practices," according to a CPUC press release.

"The CPUC is working with the Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), and first-responders to address potential impacts of utility de-energization practices on emergency response activities, including evacuations," the press release states. 

The Santa Rosa meeting will be held on Friday, Dec. 14 from 9am to 12:30pm at theSanta Rosa Veteran's Memorial Hall, Lodge Room, 1351 Maple Ave., Santa Rosa, CA 95404.

The meeting is also available to watch from home.Click here for more information.

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