SACRAMENTO – Senator Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) has coauthored Senate Bills 801, 802 and 431 with Senators Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) and Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) to help Californians weather some of the worst side effects of mandatory power shutoffs.
“Until utilities can ensure their power lines are safe during high wind situations, these bipartisan measures will address some of the challenges Californians face during a public safety power shutoff,” or PSPS, said Wilk, who represents the 21st Senate District, including Santa Clarita.
“Citizens throughout the 21st Senate District were left without water, electricity, the ability to call for help in an emergency and the use of life-saving medical devices during the power outages last fall – a totally unacceptable and dangerous situation,” Wilk said.
SB 801 would require utilities to do more to help medically vulnerable people survive a planned power outage by providing back-up battery packs to all customers whose lives would be endangered by an extended, deliberate power outage.
SB 802 clarifies state laws and regulations so that hospitals can run back-up diesel generators for the duration of planned utility mandatory power shutoffs even if the governor has not declared a disaster or state of emergency.
SB 431 would require mobile phone companies to provide at least 72 hours of back-up power on their towers located in high-risk fire areas.
“In rural communities, cell phones can be a lifeline in an emergency,” Wilk said. “We need to ensure people are not completely cut off from the ability to call for help in an emergency. Families in my district lost everything simply because they could not call for help. That is unacceptable.”