Sen. Dodd Comments on Legislature’s Passage of Wildfire Safety Bill
SACRAMENTO –Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, made the following statement today after major wildfire prevention and safety legislation proposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom and lawmakers was approved with overwhelming, bipartisan support of the Legislature:
“This bill takes an important step toward helping wildfire victims, preventing future infernos and protecting utility ratepayers,” said Sen. Dodd. “That’s why it is supported by victims of our state’s most destructive blazes as well as ratepayer groups. It is good for all Californians. I appreciate the bipartisan support of the Legislature and look forward to the governor signing it.”
Sen. Dodd is co-author of Assembly Bill 1054, which was approved today by the full Assembly and now heads to the governor’s desk. It previously was passed by the Senate. The bill is supported by Up From the Ashes and The Utility Reform Network, the leading organizations representing the interests of wildfire victims and ratepayers, respectively.
Among other things, the bill will:
- Ensure compensation for past and present victims, prevent future disasters and protect utility ratepayers from unfair increases.
- Require the California Public Utilities Commission to protect the interests of ratepayers and employees if a utility or part of a utility changes control. Without it, safety, reliability and costs could be affected.
- Require Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and the state’s other two big utilities to pay $5 billion to invest in safety improvements.
- Prohibit utilities from profiting from those expenses.
- Shield utilities customers from costs of any future wildfires and the costs of capital that home with those risks.
- Mandate a strict, one-year, timeline for PG&E to emerge from bankruptcy, ensuring settlements are reached with all victims of 2017 and 2018 fires, and that the bankruptcy plan is ratepayer-neutral.
Sen. Dodd has introduced a half-dozen wildfire safety bills this year including Senate Bill 190, which improves education and compliance with the state’s defensible space laws; SB 209, which establishes a statewide wildfire warning center; SB 240, which raises standards for insurance adjusters; and SB 247, which requires an independent third-party to oversee the clearing of vegetation from utility lines – the cause of numerous deadly fires.
Senator Bill Dodd represents the 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Yolo, Sonoma, Solano, Sacramento and Contra Costa counties. More information on Senator Bill Dodd can be found at www.senate.ca.gov/dodd.