Sen. Dodd Introduces Power Shutoff Protection Bill

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SACRAMENTO –Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, announced today he’s introduced new legislation to improve conditions in California during wildfire-related utility power shutoffs such as those last year from Pacific Gas & Electric Co.

“Power shutoffs must be limited in scope and duration, which is something PG&E has so far failed miserably to do,” Sen. Dodd said. “But if they do happen, utilities must protect our most vulnerable populations, and we must ensure our local governments have the ability and resources to respond.”

Senate Bill 862, introduced late Thursday, does two things. It expands existing law requiring utilities to provide for customers with access and functional needs before commencing a public safety power shutoff. It’s a provision that builds on SB 167 — written by Sen. Dodd last year and signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom – requiring utilities to assist people on life support equipment during shutoffs. Also, the bill makes clear that such de-energizations are eligible for emergency declarations, freeing financial assistance for local government under the Emergency Services Act.

“With the possibility of more power shutoffs, local government faces a continued strain on emergency services,” Napa County Supervisor Diane Dillon said. “Sen. Dodd’s bill ensures counties will have an opportunity to recover emergency operations costs necessary to keep the public safe and informed.”

Senator Bill Dodd represents California’s 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Solano, Napa, Sonoma, Yolo, Sacramento, and Contra Costa counties. You can learn more about Senator Dodd at www.sen.ca.gov/dodd.