Grants awarded to protect vulnerable communities from PSPS
The State of California is distributing $50 million in Community Power Resiliency grants aimed to protect local and vulnerable communities from the effects of utility-initiated power shutoffs. The grants will be distributed through the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES).
“Even amidst a global pandemic, we continue to prepare our state for the natural and man-made disasters that lie ahead,” said Gov Newsom in a press release. “These grants are part of our continued commitment to make sure that no Californian is left behind when disasters strike.”
Cal OES awarded the grants to 225 recipients. The specific distribution is $13 million among all counties, $13 million among 51 incorporated cities, $2.5 million among 20 federally recognized tribes, and $20 among 96 special districts. The funds were allotted through the 2020-21 state budget and serve to maintain the continuity of critical services that may be affected by power outages, including: schools, county election offices, food storage reserves and COVID-19 testing sites.
This is the second round of public safety power shutoffs (PSPS) resiliency grants proposed by the governor and supported by the legislature from successive budget cycles. In fiscal year (FY) 2019-20, the Legislature approved $75 million in resiliency grants to counties, cities, and state agencies.
Newsom has won critical safety victories from investor-owned utilities (IOU) to ensure wildfire safety and reliability are the top priorities. The IOUs have proactively worked to reduce the magnitude of PSPSs by reinforcing infrastructure, managing vegetation to reduce hazards, sectionalizing grids so that smaller areas are taken offline, and improving weather-monitoring technology.