CEO Thomas Tenorio and Chico NOW! radio show host Vince Haynie talked about the CAA’s newest effort to respond to the impact of Public Safety Power Shutoffs, or PSPS, events for summer power shutoffs.
Your Butte CAA was labeled an essential business at the beginning of COVID-19 and we have been working hard every day to make sure our community is supported, and we are doing all we can for the North State during these stressful times.
All employees have been hard at work while we keep a close eye on cases in the area and take appropriate precautions like wearing masks and washing hands frequently.
We had to furlough some weatherization employees early on because we were unable to enter people’s homes to complete our services. But thankfully that only lasted 3 weeks. It’s a great advantage to have everyone back on staff, especially because of our upcoming partnership with PG&E.
It’s fire season and PG&E will, again, be conducting their Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS). Last year the shutoffs would
happen with a 48-hour notice, which wasn’t much time for people who have medical needs that rely on power to prepare.
We did what we could by getting messages out on social media and asking those who follow us to help spread information to help reduce the surprise as much as possible. We also used our platform to post educational materials on what was happening.
We are happy to be able to improve things this year.
“That's why this year it's going to be different. This year there's an interim or a short-term response that we're developing in collaboration with PG&E while they're also putting in place a longer term solution. It’s needed because PSPS events are going to be with us for the foreseeable future.” said CEO Thomas Tenorio.
Butte CAA in partnership with PG&E will reach out to the approximately 1200 folks who have power dependent medical support, so that CAA can outstation solar batteries at their homes. These are people that are medically vulnerable and not necessarily completely independent.
Unfortunately, because this is a seasonal activity, it's tough to gear up for it in a major way without drawing from our regular resources.
The Public Utilities Commission has already approved around $400 million to be able install solar batteries and other batteries as retrofits in the homes of folks that are medical baseline. This is the longer term solution that I mentioned. So it will take time for the work to be completed.
That’s why PG&E is pursuing an interim strategy to partner with nonprofit organizations to help outstation the temporary solar batteries to ensure those who rely on power for a medical need will have it. We know who the persons are on medical baseline. Since fire season is upon us we will begin our efforts soon.
If you are interested in learning more about the shutoffs or just want to stay connected to what Butte CAA is up to. Follow us on social media on Facebook and Instagram @CAAButteCounty or sign up for our email list!