Report 2021-117 Recommendations

When an audit is completed and a report is issued, auditees must provide the State Auditor with information regarding their progress in implementing recommendations from our reports at three intervals from the release of the report: 60 days, six months, and one year. Additionally, Senate Bill 1452 (Chapter 452, Statutes of 2006), requires auditees who have not implemented recommendations after one year, to report to us and to the Legislature why they have not implemented them or to state when they intend to implement them. Below, is a listing of each recommendation the State Auditor made in the report referenced and a link to the most recent response from the auditee addressing their progress in implementing the recommendation and the State Auditor's assessment of auditee's response based on our review of the supporting documentation.

Recommendations in Report 2021-117: Electrical System Safety: California's Oversight of the Efforts by Investor‑Owned Utilities to Mitigate the Risk of Wildfires Needs Improvement (Release Date: March 2022)

Recommendations to Energy Infrastructure Safety, Office of
Number Recommendation Status

To ensure that utilities are targeting the areas of highest fire risk for mitigation activities, the Energy Safety Office should revise its internal procedures for reviewing mitigation plans by March 2023 to designate the prioritization of mitigation activities as a critical issue that must be appropriately addressed before a mitigation plan can be approved.

Will Not Implement

To make mitigation plans more responsive to the causes of fires and serious concerns raised through oversight mechanisms, the Energy Safety Office should require in its 2023 mitigation plan guidelines that utilities address issues identified by oversight mechanisms—such as external audits—in their mitigation plans.

Fully Implemented
Recommendations to Legislature
Number Recommendation Status

To prevent power shutoffs rather than only reducing their scope and impact, the Legislature should amend the shutoff reduction law to require that utilities describe in their mitigation plans the improvements that would be necessary to prevent power shutoffs on the circuits routinely affected by them—such as installing covered power lines—and the costs of those improvements.

No Action Taken

To address the risks and hazards resulting from future unplanned outages, the Legislature should amend the shutoff reduction law to include circuits frequently de-energized as the result of utilities' power-line setting measures. In doing so, the Legislature will create a requirement that utilities identify in their mitigation plans the circuits frequently de-energized as a result of their power-line setting measures and the improvements they have made or plan to make to those circuits.

No Action Taken

To ensure that safety certifications encourage utilities to invest in safety and limit wildfire risks, the Legislature should require that as a prerequisite of issuing a safety certification, the Energy Safety Office's most recently completed compliance assessment of a utility's mitigation plan must conclude that the utility has substantially implemented that plan.

No Action Taken

To better hold utilities accountable for safely operating the electrical grid, the Legislature should require the CPUC to create and implement a risk-based audit plan for transmission and distribution infrastructure audits that prioritizes districts based on risk factors, including high fire-threat areas, and aligns with the requirement established in its audit manual to audit each district at least once every five years.

No Action Taken

To better hold utilities accountable for safely operating the electrical grid, the Legislature should require the CPUC to create a schedule of penalties for violations identified through its audit process and apply the schedule pursuant to its existing authority to impose penalties established in state law.

No Action Taken
Recommendations to Public Utilities Commission
Number Recommendation Status

To ensure that it does not authorize cost recovery, and the resulting rate increases, for activities that were part of a utility's previous general rate case, the CPUC should perform audits of the utilities' wildfire mitigation costs before approving recovery of those costs. In addition, the CPUC should implement sufficient safeguards to ensure the appropriateness of the costs passed on to customers

Partially Implemented

To ensure that utilities do not over-recover, or charge ratepayers more than they should for the activities they perform, the CPUC should make certain that if utilities request reimbursement for the costs questioned in the contractor audits, the utilities provide sufficient quantifiable and detailed analyses to substantiate that the costs were not paid for through the utilities' previously approved rates.

Partially Implemented

Print all recommendations and responses.