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AB-900 Department of Forestry and Fire Protection: electrical grid inspection unit.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 03/26/2019 09:00 PM
AB900:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  March 26, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 900


Introduced by Assembly Member Flora

February 20, 2019


An act to amend Section 41001 of add Chapter 1.7 (commencing with Section 4240) to Part 2 of Division 4 of the Public Resources Code, relating to waste management. wildfire risk mitigation, and making an appropriation therefor.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 900, as amended, Flora. Waste management: city source reduction and recycling element. Department of Forestry and Fire Protection: electrical grid inspection unit.
Pursuant to existing law, the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection is responsible for fire protection in state responsibility areas, as well as the administration of the state's private and public forests. Pursuant to existing law, the Public Utilities Commission has regulatory authority over public utilities, including electrical corporations, electrical cooperatives are subject to the authority and jurisdiction of the commission for certain purposes, and local publicly owned electric utilities are under the direction of their governing boards. Existing law requires each electrical corporation, local publicly owned electric utility, and electrical cooperative to construct, maintain, and operate its electrical lines and equipment in a manner that will minimize the risk of catastrophic wildfire posed by those electrical lines and equipment. Existing law requires each electrical corporation to annually prepare a wildfire mitigation plan and to submit its plan to the commission for review and approval, as specified. Existing law requires the commission, at the time it approves each plan, to authorize the utility to establish a memorandum account to track costs incurred to implement the plan. Following approval, the commission is required to oversee compliance with the plans.
Existing law requires the commission and the department to enter into a memorandum of understanding to cooperatively develop consistent approaches and share data related to fire prevention, safety, vegetation management, and energy distribution systems and to share results from various fire prevention activities, including relevant inspections and fire ignition data.
This bill would require the department to establish an electrical grid inspection unit with a northern region and southern region, each region having 10 fire captain specialists and one battalion chief. The electrical grid inspection unit would be responsible for enforcing electrical corporation compliance with all statutes, regulations, and rules concerning safety, maintenance of firebreaks, and vegetation control in state responsibility areas and specified areas that are at high risk for catastrophic wildfires. The bill would require the department to adopt regulations establishing a program for the inspection of an electrical corporation’s lines and associated equipment for the transmission or distribution of electricity that authorizes the electrical grid inspection unit to issue citations to an electrical corporation to correct a condition involving the utility’s lines or associated equipment. The bill would require that the regulations include specified content, including protocols to notify the Public Utilities Commission of the results of inspections for which no citation is issued and of any citation issued by the department and the resolution of the citation. The bill would make the notifications admissible in specified proceedings and reviews by the commission. The bill would appropriate $5,000,000 from the General Fund to the department for purposes of establishing and staffing the electrical grid inspection unit.

The California Integrated Waste Management Act of 1989, which is administered by the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, requires each city and county, and each regional agency formed pursuant to the act, to develop a source reduction and recycling element of an integrated waste management plan to divert 50% of all solid waste, through source reduction, recycling, and composting activities.

This bill would make a nonsubstantive change to a provision relating to city source reduction and recycling elements.

Vote: MAJORITY2/3   Appropriation: NOYES   Fiscal Committee: NOYES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Chapter 1.7 (commencing with Section 4240) is added to Part 2 of Division 4 of the Public Resources Code, to read:
CHAPTER  1.7. Electrical Grid Safety Program

4240.
 (a) The department shall establish an electrical grid inspection unit. The unit shall consist of a northern region and a southern region. Each region shall have 10 fire captain specialists and one battalion chief.
(b) The electrical grid inspection unit shall be responsible for enforcing electrical corporation compliance with all statutes, regulations, and rules concerning safety, maintenance of firebreaks, and vegetation control in state responsibility areas and in a Public Utilities Commission-designated Tier 2 or Tier 3 High Fire Threat District.
(c) The department shall adopt regulations establishing a program for the inspection of an electrical corporation’s lines and associated equipment for the transmission or distribution of electricity. The regulations shall authorize the electrical grid inspection unit to issue citations to an electrical corporation to correct a condition involving the utility’s lines or associated equipment for the transmission or distribution of electricity. The regulations shall also include the following:
(1) Priorities for conducting inspections based upon the risk of catastrophic wildfire and the risk of damage or injury that would likely result from a wildfire.
(2) A protocol for notification of the electrical corporation of the condition that requires correction, the action that should be taken to correct the condition, and the time within which the utility should complete correction of the condition.
(3) A protocol for an electrical corporation to notify the department that the corrective action has begun and been completed.
(4) A protocol for reinspection of the line or equipment to verify that the condition has been corrected.
(5) A protocol for notifying the electrical corporation that the department has verified that the condition has been corrected or that further action is necessary and what additional work should be undertaken.
(6) A protocol for notifying the Public Utilities Commission of the results of inspections for which no citation is issued.
(7) A protocol for notifying the Public Utilities Commission of any citation issued by the department and the resolution of the citation.
(d) (1) Notifications provided the Public Utilities Commission pursuant to paragraphs (6) and (7) of subdivision (c) shall be admissible in a proceeding by the commission to determine whether to grant or deny an application for the recovery of expenses filed by an electrical corporation the subject of which includes expenses incurred in correcting a condition that was the subject of a citation or uninsured expenses resulting from a wildfire where it is claimed that the wildfire was caused by a line or equipment inspected by the department. Notifications shall also be admissible when the commission is reviewing a memorandum account pursuant to subdivision (j) of Section 8386 of the Public Utilities Code.
(2) Notifications provided the Public Utilities Commission pursuant to paragraphs (6) and (7) of subdivision (c) shall be admissible when conducting a review of an electrical corporation’s compliance with a wildfire mitigation plan pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 8386 of the Public Utilities Code and in any investigation by the commission into whether the electrical corporation has failed to comply with legal requirements.
(3) This subdivision goes to the admissibility of notifications and not their weight, and nothing in this subdivision affects the weight that the Public Utilities Commission attaches to a notification from the department, nor does it require the commission to open an investigation in response to receipt of a notification from the department.
(e) Nothing in this section affects the authority of the Public Utilities Commission over an electrical corporation, including the commission’s authority to conduct inspections and investigations or exercise its enforcement authority pursuant to Chapter 11 (commencing with Section 2100) of Part 1 of Division 1 of the Public Utilities Code.

SEC. 2.

 The sum of five million dollars ($5,000,000) is hereby appropriated from the General Fund to the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection for purposes of staffing the electrical grid inspection unit established pursuant to Section 4240 of the Public Resources Code.
SECTION 1.Section 41001 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:
41001.

The city source reduction and recycling element shall include a program for management of solid waste generated within the city, consistent with the waste management hierarchy provided for in Section 40051.