The California Public Utilities Commission has proposed a $100 million storage incentives scheme to assist a new kind of energy-vulnerable consumer – those living in parts of the state most at risk of wildfires.
The proposal will draw on funds allocated to the state’s Self-Generation Incentive Programme’s equity budget. The programme is the state’s incentive scheme for behind-the-meter battery storage.
The budget, which is allocated to assist the energy-vulnerable including the elderly and medically-boarded, will be reallocated to support vulnerable homes, critical infrastructure facilities, and low-income solar equity programme customers who are based in Tier 3, or high risk, areas.
The current proposal, if accepted, would only affect 2020’s budget, however, the utility commission is planning to source further funding to sustain the programme on a long-term basis.
In light of the 2018 Camp Fire, which caused the death of 85 people, and PG&E filing for bankruptcy in January 2019, California legislators have added new legislation to bolster utility fire prevention and safety measures.
PG&E recently took responsibility for the Camp Fire incident, and have subsequently launched daily aerial patrols, satellite monitoring, and consumer-awareness efforts, but looming debts have led insurers to threaten a take-over.