US – SACRAMENTO (KRON) – Some wildfire-related legislation could face key votes in the state senate this week, including an effort to hold PG&E accountable when it shuts off power to prevent fire.
The California Senate Appropriations Committee Tuesday moved to put some wild-fire related bills on the “suspense file,” meaning the proposals will either be quickly killed or passed by the end of the week.
One of those bills is Senator Scott Wiener’s proposal to make sure utilities are held accountable when they intentionally cut off power.
In some cases, the proposed system requires customers to be compensated for resources lost in the blackouts.
“Right now it’s a little bit of wild west when it comes to PG&E’s blackouts and we saw it when PG&E shut power to 2.5 million residents in California,” Senator Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, said.
Opponents argue this would discourage utilities from using public safety power shut offs.
Some lawmakers have said a policy like this might be better left up to the governor and the California Public Utilities Commission.
“The Governor has a bully pulpit, he has a lot of power but he cannot enact legally enforceable law. The CPUC has some authority, but frankly, the CPUC hasn’t done enough,” Wiener said
Another wildfire-related measure the committee will consider a $4.2 billion bond to fund wildfire prevention, drought, flood, and safe drinking water projects.
The pricey proposal would allow the state to borrow money to prepare for future natural disasters that have plagued California in the past.
If the legislature approves, it will be up to voters to make the final decision in November.
The Senate Appropriations Committee will decide the fate of these bills Thursday.