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CPUC President Issues Scoping Memo for OIR on Wildfire Mitigation Plans

Issues and Schedules Set to Implement Senate Bill 901 (2018)

· Senate Bill 901,Electric Utilities,CPUC

President Michael Picker of the California Public Utilities Commission has issued the Scoping Memo and Ruling on December 7, 2018, laying out some key procedural details of the rulemaking designed to bring wildfire mitigation plans for six electric utilities (Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric, Liberty Utilities/CalPeco Electric, Bear Valley Electric Service, and Pacific Power). As expected the focus of the proceeding will be to review and approve the initial 2019 wildfire mitigation plans of the named California electric utilities as required by Public Utilities Code Section 8386, as modified by Senate Bill 901. Section 8386 sets forth a detailed list of the plans required contents, however, the Scoping Memo states the Commission will interpret and apply the list of required plan elements but may add "additional elements beyond those required in statute." Other provisions of SB901 that affect the PUC's consideration, interpretation or approval of the wildfire mitigation plans may also be found within the scope of the proceeding.

"De-energization is on the list of items that utility wildfire mitigation plans must cover. . . but the subject requires more in-depth consideration than it can receive in this proceeding. Accordingly, the Commission will consider opening a separate rulemaking on de-energization on it December 13, 2018 business meeting."

The Scoping Memo pointed out a number of parties focused their comments on the issue of electric utility proactive de-energization of power lines under high fire-risk conditions. While de-energization is on the list of items that utility wildfire mitigation plans must cover and will be included in the proceeding as to the wildfire mitigation plans, the Scoping Memo said that the subject requires more in-depth consideration that it can receive in this proceeding, and thus the Commission will consider opening a separate rulemaking on de-energization at its December 13, 2018 voting meeting. The Scoping Memo said it was keeping its options open for an evidentiary hearing and presented procedural schedules with both options. In both cases, the rulemaking would wrap up all submissions by late March 2019. The ratesetting proceeding is expected to resolve within 18 months of its initiation date of October 25, 2018.

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