Building on previous efforts to protect local communities and vulnerable Californians from the impacts of utility-initiated power shutoffs, Governor Gavin Newsom yesterday announced the distribution of an additional $50 million in Community Power Resiliency grants 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 may lie ahead,” said Governor Newson. “These grants are part of our continued commitment to make sure that no Californian is left behind when disasters strike.”
The funds released today were allocated through the 2020-21 state budget and are designed to maintain the continuity of critical services that can be impacted by power outages, including schools, county election offices, food storage reserves and COVID-19 testing sites.
The grants awarded by Cal OES were distributed to a total of 225 recipients, including all counties, 51 incorporated cities, 20 federally recognized tribes and 96 special districts, specifically:
- $13 million to counties – Each county was allocated based on population. Each county is required to use at least 50 percent of their award to support PSPS resiliency for one or more of the following priority areas: schools, elections offices, food storage reserves and/or COVID-19 testing sites.
- $13 million to cities – Cities were allowed to apply for up to $300,000 on a competitive basis. They are encouraged to allocate funds to one or more of the following priority areas: schools, election offices, food storage reserves and/or COVID-19 testing sites.
- $2.5 million to California federally recognized tribes – Tribes were allowed to apply for up to $150,000 on a competitive basis.
- $20 million to special districts – Special districts that have an identified critical facility or facilities, or provide critical infrastructure, pursuant to the de-energization guidelines adopted by the California Public Utilities Commission were allowed to apply for up to $300,000 on a competitive basis.
This is the second round of PSPS resiliency grants from successive budget cycles proposed by the Governor and supported by the Legislature. In FY19-20, the Legislature approved the Governor’s proposal to allocate $75 million in resiliency grants to counties, cities, tribes and state agencies. Over these two budget cycles, counties have received $39 million, cities have received $23 million, tribes have received $4 million, state agencies have received $37.5 million and special districts have received $20 million.
Since being elected, Governor Newsom has won critical safety victories from investor-owned utilities (IOUs) to make these utilities more accountable to the state and ensure wildfire safety and reliability are top priorities. All three large IOUs have taken steps to reduce the size and scope of public safety power shutoffs by hardening infrastructure, reducing hazards through vegetation management, sectionalizing the grid so that smaller areas can be taken offline and improving weather monitoring technology and modeling.