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Mike Garcia Urges Modernization of Electrical Grid, Combating Ramifications of PSPS

Representative Mike Garcia (CA-25) spoke during the House Appropriations Committee Full Committee Markup of the FY2022 Department of Homeland Security bill.

Representative Mike Garcia (CA-25) spoke during the House Appropriations Committee Full Committee Markup of the FY2022 Department of Homeland Security bill. Garcia secured language in the bill that would encourage the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to reimburse the cost of generators for individuals who are affected by Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS), which is an important step in providing badly-needed short-term relief for Californians in the 25th District. 

“In California, the electric utilities shut off our power any time wind speeds rise above 25 miles-per-hour or humidity levels fall below 20%. While this policy of Public Safety Power Shutoffs, or PSPS, is intended to prevent wildfires from starting in certain weather conditions, PSPS have real, negative consequences that can’t be ignored – such as the loss of water, perishable food, and fuel. It is especially dangerous for those with medical needs where an interruption of power could be life-threatening. These power shutoffs are, in most cases, representing a greater threat than the fires themselves,” said Garcia.

While the bill does not guarantee FEMA will reimburse the cost of generators for individuals who are impacted by PSPS, it takes needed steps towards securing such a commitment from FEMA.

“Even though these power shutoffs aren’t the fault of any of my constituents, they have to pay for generators out of their own pocket in order to have a backup source of power. Utilities offer to pay only a small percentage of the cost of generators for ratepayers, but not enough to make this an affordable option for everyone. While I will continue to advance long term solutions to address this issue like improving power grid reliability and forest management, the language in the Homeland Security Appropriations report encouraging FEMA to reimburse the cost of generators for individuals who are affected by PSPS is an important step in providing badly-needed short-term relief for my constituents,” said Garcia.

In Congress, Garcia continues to fight to reduce the excessive use of PSPS, modernize the electrical grid, and better prepare for and prevent wildfires. 

Click here to watch Garcia’s remarks during the markup.

Read more from Garcia on PSPS here.