Newsom announces grants to mitigate PSPS

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Building on previous efforts to protect local communities from the impacts of utility-initiated Public Safety Power Shutoffs, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday the distribution of an additional $50 million in Community Power Resiliency grants through the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. 

“Even amidst a global pandemic, we continue to prepare our state for the natural and man-made disasters that may lie ahead,” Newson said in a prepared statement. “These grants are part of our continued commitment to make sure that no Californian is left behind when disasters strike.”   

The funds released Wednesday were allocated through the 2020-21 state budget and are designed to maintain the continuity of critical services that can be impacted by power outages, including schools, county election offices, food storage reserves and COVID-19 testing sites.  

The grants, awarded by Cal OES, were distributed to a total of 225 recipients, including all counties, 51 incorporated cities, 20 federally recognized tribes and 96 special districts, specifically:  

  • $13 million to counties: Each county was allocated based on population and is required to use at least 50% of their award to support PSPS resiliency for one or more of the following priority areas: Schools, elections offices, food storage reserves and/or COVID-19 testing sites.   
  • $13 million to cities: Cities were allowed to apply for up to $300,000 on a competitive basis and are encouraged to allocate funds to one or more of the following priority areas: Schools, election offices, food storage reserves and/or COVID-19 testing sites. 
  • $2.5 million to California federally recognized tribes: Tribes were allowed to apply for up to $150,000 on a competitive basis.  
  • $20 million to special districts: Special districts that have an identified critical facility or facilities, or provide critical infrastructure, pursuant to the de-energization guidelines adopted by the California Public Utilities Commission were allowed to apply for up to $300,000 on a competitive basis. 

This is the second round of PSPS resiliency grants, with the first allocating $75 million to counties, cities, tribes and state agencies. 

Los Angeles County has received $1.5 million in these PSPS resiliency grants, which are set to go toward facility modifications to support backup power for the county’s Fire Departments, Public Works and Animal Care and Control facilities in de-energization areas, as well as for mobile generators for community centers and voting centers in these areas.

The city of Santa Clarita has also applied for the grants for the past two years, and unfortunately, was not awarded a grant either year, according to city spokeswoman Carrie Lujan. 

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