CPUC Descends Into Chaos As Exec Director Fired, Fire Warnings Did Not Go Out
Written by 991KBU on September 1, 2020
There is absolute chaos at the State agency that Malibu and the rest of California relies on for gas and electric safety.
The California Public Utilities Commission yesterday fired its executive director.
Alice Stebbins had brought in a bunch of incompetent people from her former job at the California air resources Board … and she was hired at the CPUC.
An audit by the state personnel board found that the executive director have been hiring marginally qualified people from the air resources Board at the utility safety Board.
The president of the California Public Utilities Commission called those hirings “appalling and disgraceful.”
But Stebbins contends she is being forced out in retaliation for blowing the whistle on about $200 million in fees that the commission did not collect on time.
The commissioners rejected those claims and fired Stebbins yesterday … at their meeting in San Francisco,
The CPUC has been blasted for years for disfunction …
Several years ago … the president of the Commission was caught making a secret deal with Southern California Edison to shift billions of dollars in nuclear plant cleanup costs to ratepayers.
The CPUC was also lax for decades in enforcing power pole safety rules … violations of the sort that caused the Woolsey Fire … and other deadly fires before that.
This story is based on reporting in the San Francisco Chronicle. https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/California-Public-Utilities-Commission-fires-15528599.php
The huge fires that broke out last week in Northern California are again focussing attention on disaster warnings.
People who live in the Santa Cruz Mountains … and in the wine country near Vacaville… say they did not get evacuation warnings.
They complain that they had packed and were ready to go … but lost their important packed property and pets because they were suddenly confronted with fire.
In Solano County … deputies and firefighters went house to house as the flames advanced.
But some neighborhoods got skipped … several residents tell the San francisco Chronicle they did not receive phone alerts or get warned by law enforcement personnel in person.
The problem may have been power outages … that crippled cellphone towers and landline amplifiers … and cut off communication.
The California Public Utilities Commission has adopted a new requirement that cell service sites have enough power to run for 72 hours during blackouts.
But the commission gave companies a year to install the backup systems, meaning they may not be in place during this fall’s fire season.
And backup power only solves one problem: cell towers get damaged or destroyed.
Many people in the Vacaville area say they were woken up by neighbors or calls from friends.