SACRAMENTO – Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, made the following statement today in response to Senate committee approval of major wildfire prevention and safety legislation proposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom and Capitol colleagues that helps compensate fire survivors, prevents future infernos and protects utility ratepayers from unfair increases:
“We must stand by victims of California’s unprecedented wildfires, prevent future disasters and protect utility customers from unfair rate hikes,” Sen. Dodd said. “Simply doing nothing and allowing utility rates to skyrocket is not an option. Clearly, this bill is our best hope. Make no mistake – it is not a utility bailout. It’s a ratepayer bailout. I thank the governor as well as my Assembly and Senate colleagues for their hard work.”
Sen. Dodd is co-author of Assembly Bill 1054, which was approved by the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications committee. Among other things, it does the following:
- It will help ensure compensation for past and present victims, prevent future disasters and protect utility ratepayers from unfair increases.
- It requires Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and the state’s other two big utilities to pay $5 billion to invest in safety improvements.
- Utilities won’t be allowed to make a cent of profit from those expenses.
- The plan also creates a fund to help shield customers from costs of any future wildfires and the costs of capital that come with those risks.
- It also mandates a strict, one-year, timeline for PG&E to emerge from bankruptcy, ensuring settlements are reached with all victims of 2017 and 2018 fires, and that the bankruptcy plan is ratepayer-neutral.
Sen. Dodd has introduced a half-dozen separate wildfire safety bills this year including measures to clear vegetation from power lines, create defensible spaces around homes, establish a statewide wildfire warning center and raise standards for insurance adjusters.
Senator Bill Dodd represents the 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Yolo, Sonoma, Solano, Sacramento and Contra Costa counties. More information on Senator Bill Dodd can be found at www.senate.ca.gov/dodd.