Sen. Dodd’s Disaster Preparedness Bill Signed by Governor
SACRAMENTO – With wildfires threatening new rounds of public safety power shutoffs across California, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, to help local governments pay the cost of running emergency operations centers during the planned power outages.
“We must ensure our communities have adequate resources to respond to power shutoffs while we make utilities improve their grid,” Sen. Dodd said. “Clearly, the wildfire threat is not going away, and utility companies will continue to employ this preventative measure. The signing of this bill removes some of the financial strain from local government and allows us to keep the public safe.”
Senate Bill 52 follows a series of de-energizations from PG&E over the past two years that were intended to prevent fallen power lines and damaged equipment from sparking fires. It makes clear that such public safety power shutoffs are eligible for official emergency declarations, freeing financial assistance for local government under the Emergency Services Act.
SB 52 is supported by Napa County, California Fire Chiefs Association, Fire Districts Association of California, Rural County Representatives of California, Disability Rights California and the California Association of Public Authorities.
The bill won overwhelming bipartisan support in the Assembly and Senate before it was signed Wednesday by Gov. Newsom.
“It may be necessary for utilities to turn off the power to prevent wildfires, but the disruption to people’s live and the cost to local government can’t be ignored,” said Napa County Supervisor Diane Dillon. “That’s why we sponsored this bill, which will clarify that power shutoffs constitute a local emergency. I thank Sen. Dodd for his leadership in getting the governor’s signature on it.”
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.