California Governor Wants Wildfire Fund to Help Utilities

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is pressing lawmakers on a wildfire fund that may be financed through bonds to help utilities pay for the catastrophic blazes their power lines keep igniting, according to people familiar with the proposal.

Newsom is proposing a so-called liquidity fund that could be seeded by at least $10 billion in Department of Water Resources bonds, said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private. The administration may also ask utilities to contribute about $7.5 billion in equity, the people said.

Bird Knocks Out 84% of Massive California Solar Farm

An “avian incident” sparked a fire at one of California’s biggest solar farms, affecting 1,200 acres and knocking out 84% of the California Valley Solar Ranch’s generating capacity.

The June 5 incident didn’t damage solar panels at the 250-megawatt power plant, but distribution poles and cables need to be replaced, according a regulatory filing Wednesday from owner Clearway Energy Inc. The company didn’t say exactly how the blaze was ignited.

Can Government Manage Risks Associated with Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence can help government agencies deliver better results, but there are underlying risks and ethical issues with its implementation that need to be resolved before AI becomes part of the fabric of government.

Based on insights from an expert roundtable led by the IBM Center for The Business of Government and the Partnership for Public Service, agencies will need to address multiple risks and ethical imperatives in order to realize the opportunity that AI technology brings. These include:

Cal/OSHA Cites Solar Panel Installer $193K for Willful Fall Protection Violation

Cal/OSHA has cited an Anaheim, Calif. solar panel installation company $193,905 for multiple serious workplace safety hazards including one willful serious accident-related violation, following an investigation of a worker who was seriously injured after they fell from the roof of an Oakland home.

Cal/OSHA determined that Nexus Energy Systems Inc. did not provide required fall protection for their workers.

California Heat Stokes Fire Risk, Residents Asked to Curb Power Use

A second day of unrelenting heat is scorching California, sending temperatures to near record levels, raising risk of wildfires and prompting calls for energy conservation.

Temperatures surged past 100 degrees Fahrenheit in parts of Northern California Tuesday, with heat advisories in effect across the state. Sacramento was forecast to hit 103 degrees.

More Electricity Outages to Hit California. How to Prepare

(TNS) — The era of available electricity whenever and wherever needed is officially over in wildfire-plagued California.

Pacific Gas & Electric served stark notice of that “new normal” this past weekend when it pre-emptively shut power to tens of thousands of customers in five Northern California counties. The utility warned that it could happen again, perhaps repeatedly, this summer and fall as it seeks to avoid triggering disastrous wildfires.

The dramatic act has prompted questions and concerns: What criteria did PG&E use? Did the shutdowns prevent any fires? And what can residents do to prepare for what could be days without electricity?

California Utilities Plan for the Dry, Hot Fire ‘Season’

(TNS) — With temperatures soaring and strong winds blowing through forests across Northern California over the weekend, rural areas in the Sierra Nevada foothills plunged into darkness after Pacific Gas & Electric Co. shut off high-voltage transmission lines to avoid sparking wildfires.

The first formal deployment of its new Public Safety and Power Shutoff rules left more than 20,500 PG&E customers in portions of Butte and Yuba counties without power as 260 utility personnel conducted safety patrols, repaired electric infrastructure and inspected 800 miles of transmission and distribution lines, officials said.

Readiness Survey Suggests More People Are Concerned About Disasters

In the Fourth Annual Healthcare Ready national survey on the emergency preparedness of Americans, a larger number of respondents indicated a concern that they are vulnerable to a disaster, and yet 51 percent said they didn’t have a plan for a disaster.

Of the 1,245 adults surveyed, 54 percent said they are aware that they or their families could be affected by a disaster within the next five years. That was in increase from last year’s 51 percent. The survey results were released last week.

California May Go Dark This Summer; Most Aren’t Ready

A plan by California’s biggest utility to cut power on high-wind days during the onrushing wildfire season could plunge millions of residents into darkness. And the vast majority isn’t ready for it.

The plan by PG&E Corp. comes after the bankrupt utility said a transmission line that snapped in windy weather probably started last year’s Camp Fire, the deadliest in state history. While the plan may end one problem, it creates another as Californians seek ways to deal with what some fear could be days and days of blackouts.

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