Assembly Bill 66, which seeks to rectify the frequent unplanned outages plaguing communities across the South Bay, is en route to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk for approval after passing the Assembly Floor Tuesday.
The bill was introduced by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi in June with strong backing from Manhattan Beach City Council and other South Bay officials representing Rancho Palos Verdes, Rolling Hills Estates and the South Bay Cities Council of Government.
Titled “Public Safety: Utility Outage Reporting,” A.B. 66 would require electrical corporations to report the frequency and duration of outages in their annual reliability reports. It would also authorize the California Public Utilities Commission to develop geographic boundaries to document the outages and require posting on its website.
“This bill is an important step to solve the recurring power outages in the South Bay and across California,” Muratsuchi said in a statement. “I urge Governor Brown to sign A.B. 66 and give ratepayers a more reliable electrical grid.”
Manhattan Beach averages about one unplanned power outage every other month, Mayor David Lesser said at the June press conference. More often than not, he explained, these outages stem not from unforeseen events such as a mylar balloon caught in the wires but from equipment and infrastructure failure, blown transformers and faulty equipment.
An unplanned power outage on a Saturday night early June left a majority of downtown homes and businesses without power for several hours. Traffic lights went dark as did City Hall and the public safety facility. The Police/Fire complex was left to operate on an emergency generator.
The impact of such an outage “on a small community like ours is significant,” Lesser said.
“The recent power outages in the South Bay underscore the need for this bill,” Muratsuchi said. “Businesses, homes, public safety, everyone is affected by these sudden blackouts.”
Governor Brown has until Oct. 13 to sign the bill into law.