Wildfire Safety Division Refines WMPs; Co-ops, CCAs Tout Local Awareness

California Energy Markets

The Wildfire Safety Advisory Board at a Sept. 23 meeting acknowledged new challenges as the effects of climate change raged across the state in the form of record temperatures and millions of burning acres.

The WSAB, a board of independent experts within the California Public Utilities Commission, was created with the 2019 passage of AB 1054. It convened via webcast for its fifth meeting, in which it heard updates from the CPUC’s Wildfire Safety Division, with which the board has an advisory relationship, and presentations from California’s rural electric cooperative association and the California Community Choice Association about their wildfire mitigation efforts.

Sonoma Clean Power CEO Geof Syphers and Stephanie Chen, senior policy counsel for MCE, presented to the board the resilience initiatives of California’s community choice aggregators. CCAs represent some of the highest-fire-threat areas in the state, Syphers said, and like co-ops, they are experts in their local areas. As part of local governments, CCAs are also well positioned to work with other agencies to achieve best practices for wildfire mitigation. For example, a deeper understanding of community needs and resources can aid in improving the placement and efficacy of backup power resources for PSPS events, Syphers said.

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