Early this week, Governor Jerry Brown, Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood), Senate Republican Leader Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel), and Assembly Republican Leader Brian Dahle (R-Bieber) announced action on legislation to strengthen disaster preparedness, and set forth appropriate policies to respond to the increasing wildfire danger. 

According to the Governor’s press release, the amended legislation will help prepare the state to deal with the increasingly extreme weather and natural disasters caused by climate change.  Specifically, the committee will consider provisions of the plan outlined in March to update rules and regulations for utility services in light of changing climate and the increased severity and frequency of weather events, such as:

  • Strengthen fire prevention activities such as vegetation removal, infrastructure maintenance, utility company inspections and temporary shut off of power during extreme weather;
  • Continue to ensure that those who cause wildfires are held accountable for damages associated with them;
  • Appropriately determine responsibility for a wildfire;
  • Ensure fair allocation of wildfire prevention and response costs in a manner that protects ratepayers; and,
  • Require utilities to annually submit to the state more expansive and detailed wildfire and emergency preparedness plans.

RCRC’s letter to Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins and Speaker of the Assembly Anthony Rendon expressing RCRC’s concern regarding any potential release from liability for the 2017 wildfires or any other wildfire event found to be caused by negligence on the part of Investor Owned Utilities can be accessed here.  The Governor’s press release can be accessed here.