Gov. Gavin Newsom announced last week that an additional $50 million in Community Power Resiliency grants has been distributed through the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services in order to offset impacts from utility-initiated power shutoffs.
“Even amidst a global pandemic, we continue to prepare our state for the natural and man-made disasters that may lie ahead,” Newsom said in a press release. “These grants are part of our continued commitment to make sure that no Californian is left behind when disasters strike.”
The grants were awarded to 225 total recipients, including every county in the state, 51 incorporated cities, 20 federally recognized tribes and 96 special districts.
“The funds released today 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 release reads.
Allocations to counties totalled $13 million and were distributed based on population. Counties are required to use at least half of the funds to support Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) resiliency in certain priority areas, including schools, election offices, food storage reserves and COVID-19 testing sites.
Cities were allowed to apply for up to $300,000 on a competitive basis, and received $13 million through the latest round of funding. Tribes were allowed to apply for up to $150,000 on a competitive basis, and received $2.5 million.
In addition, $20 million went to 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,” the release reads. Special districts were allowed to apply for up to $300,000 on a competitive basis.
The allocations are the second round of PSPS resiliency grants from successive budget cycles proposed by the Governor and supported by the Legislature.
“In FY19-20, the Legislature approved the Governor’s proposal to allocate $75 million in resiliency grants to counties, cities, tribes and state agencies,” the release reads. “Over these two budget cycles, counties have received $39 million, cities have received $23 million, tribes have received $4 million, state agencies have received $37.5 million and special districts have received $20 million.”
Calaveras County Office Emergency Services Director John Osbourn said that the county received its allocation totaling $80,820 earlier this year.
“In this round of funding, we partnered with the city of Angels Camp and the office of education to do some work at Mark Twain Elementary School so that they would have more resiliency when it came to power loss,” Osbourn said. “In the first round, we used those funds to purchase resiliency equipment such as generators, fuel trailers and transfer switches that we deployed throughout the county so that in the event of a PSPS we could stand up emergency power at community resource centers.”
Osbourne said that he was hopeful that the county would receive additional resiliency funding during the next budget cycle.
“We are hopeful that we’ll receive another allocation so that we can continue our power resiliency work here in the county,” he said.