SACRAMENTO – Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, made the following statement today on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signing of major wildfire prevention and safety legislation:
“Governing is about making the best available choices for our state. And that’s what this bill represents,” said Sen. Dodd. “Nobody is happy with the wildfire risk we face due to climate change and utility malfeasance. But that can’t stop us from making progress for victims and ratepayers. I thank the governor for being a good partner and leader on this issue. We’ve been working closely from day one. I look forward to passing additional wildfire prevention measures in the months ahead.”
Sen. Dodd is co-author of Assembly Bill 1054, which won overwhelming, bipartisan support in the Legislature and is backed 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.
“As one of thousands still trying to recover from California’s devastating blazes, I appreciate Sen. Dodd’s continuing support for local survivors,” said Brenda Gilchrist, a member of Up From the Ashes who lost everything in the Tubbs fire. “This bill was urgently needed.”
Sen. Dodd has introduced a half-dozen wildfire safety bills this year including SB 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.