More wildfire mitigation plan information

Those at the local public utility are looking forward after the board’s November approval of the Wildfire Mitigation Plan.

They are looking very carefully at one of the state’s newest agencies and a potential for undergrounding a nearby transmission line.

Patrick Holley, assistant general manager for the Lassen Municipal Utility District, shared some of those developments with the board at its December meeting.

He also talked some about its wildfire mitigation plan.

Holley noted that the plan was virtually complete, and its next milestone is in July, where it will be sent to the California Wildfire Safety Advisory Board.

The CWSAB was outlined in Assembly Bill 1054 and signed into law last July.

According to the governor’s office, the board is made up of independent expert advisors to advise a new Wildfire Safety Division within the California Public Utilities Commission on wildfire safety measures, including plans written by utilities, so the CPUC can more effectively regulate the safety of investor-owned utilities.

The bill also mandated utilities tie executive compensation to safety performance, invest $5 billion in safety improvements without profit and go through a new yearly wildfire safety review and certification process.

It also requires new inspections of utility electrical equipment. Under the law, utilities must create a wildfire safety committee in their corporate board, and provide direct board-level safety reporting to the CPUC.

According to the bill’s text, every “local publicly owned electric utility … shall, before Jan. 1, 2020, prepare a wildfire mitigation plan. After …(they) shall prepare a … plan annually and shall submit the plan to the California Wildfire Safety Advisory Board on or before July 1 of that calendar year.”

The bill’s text also mandates utilities submit a comprehensive revision of the plan at least once every three years there after.


Shaffer Mountain upgrade

Holley had good news for the board, “We have an approval for a Shaffer Mountain upgrade. And that line — in the last mile or two of that line — is in very bad condition.”

The utility sent in the application to the Bureau of Land Management to update, upgrade and underground the portion of the line.

Holley mentioned that BLM understood that the line was a critical electric supply of communications for the area. Holley mentioned the utility was hoping to have the permit by the first quarter of next year.

Shaffer Mountain (which is 6,735 feet tall) is a major peak along the Honey Lake Valley rim. It is located on the western edge of the Great Basin Desert and offers views of the northern Sierra Nevada and southern Cascades.

It is located on the north end of Honey Lake and is composed of tertiary volcanic rock, as are most of the desert peaks in this region.

The prominence and location of Shaffer Mountain resulted in a California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection lookout being placed atop its summit from 1931-1947. Nowadays, the peak has multiple wind measuring towers (meteorological towers), and the location above Highway 395 has led to multiple cell towers and communication facilities being placed on the summit, leased through the BLM.