Aug 17, 2020
California Governor Gavin Newsom August 17 Press Conference Transcript
Governor Newsom: (05:57)
Well, good afternoon. I don’t need to tell all of you what we’re experiencing here as a state, as it relates to this oppressive heat wave and these rather extraordinary weather conditions that all of us are struggling through. Many of us suffering through, impact not just here in the State of California, but the impact being felt all across the West coast of the United States. This weather has included thousands, quite literally thousands of dry lightning strikes that have sparked fire throughout the State of California. We’ve seen wind gusts in Santa Cruz mountains, North of 74 miles per hour. Record temperatures that we’ve experienced again, not just here in the state of California, but arguably the hottest temperatures we’ve seen over an extended period of time in close to 70 years on the West coast of the United States, including the headlines that are being garnered around the world with our own Death Valley that may have recorded the hottest temperature in modern recording period, historically.
Governor Newsom: (06:59)
Some have argued at least in the last 90 years, but you get the point. 130 degree heat in Death Valley, California yesterday. We are all experiencing a rather extraordinary conditions. Those conditions precipitated, as I said, in a number of new fires in the State of California. Many of those fires under a thousand acres. Most of those fires in a condition where we are confident we’ll be able to tackle. We’ll be able to block. We’ll ultimately be able to suppress them in relatively short order. There are, however, four larger fires, active fires in the state of California.
Governor Newsom: (07:44)
The River Fire, which has generated headlines near Monterey County. Ranch Fire, and Lake Fire. And LA County area, of course, the Apple Fe, which is substantially contained down in Riverside. You could see the containment in each and every one of those fires, 10% River Fire. Ranch Fire at 19%. Lake Fire progress being made, 31% containment. Apple Fire, again, substantially contained.
Governor Newsom: (08:11)
Those are active fires under extraordinary conditions. And it’s a way of expressing this heat dome. This heat index has put an enormous amount of pressure, not just on all of you individually, but also our firefighters that are dealing with extraordinary circumstances, the likes of which we haven’t seen in quite some time here in the State of California. So roughly 15 active fires, most smaller, brush vegetation fires. These larger fires, we continue to actively monitor. I want to thank the administration, the president, their quick support for what we refer to as an F mag. You see F mag has been granted by FEMA, our partners in River Fire and the Apple Fire. That will help with our recovery efforts, will help with remuneration, will help with our ability to distribute emergency resources in real time. Again, the power and potency of these federal partnerships that clearly are at play at times like these.
Governor Newsom: (09:14)
Of course, times like these also have precipitated pressure on our energy supply across the West, but particularly here in the State of California. It has put pressure that has created some temporary service interruptions that began on Friday. That moved into Saturday, were substantially mitigated on Sunday, but are very likely to continue today, Tuesday, and likely through Wednesday evening.
Governor Newsom: (09:43)
We’re going to talk a little bit more about what we anticipate in a moment, but let me give you a size of scale, the scope of what occurred when I last left you on Friday, I was handed a note during the midst of my presentation about a new flexible alert here in the State of California, that we were looking to be short of the megawatts needed to provide uninterrupted service throughout the State of California, about a thousand megawatts short of where we needed to be. On Saturday, we fell short roughly 450 megawatts. We were able to turn some things on, address some issues with generators, some peaker plants and the like, look at some load strategies to mitigate and obviate the need for further interruptions. As I said, substantially Sunday, we saw only modest or minor interruptions in service in the State of California.
Governor Newsom: (10:39)
Today, we are anticipating substantially greater need for energy, roughly 4,500 megawatts, 4,400 to be precise, short of where we believe we need to be. Now, that’s top line. And I’ll explain in a moment that we’re not just going to accept that as fate, we’re going to try to work to reduce the stress and reduce the need to reach that 4,400 megawatt goal through different strategies, demand reduction, different strategies in terms of procurement of new energy and the like, but this next few days we are anticipating being challenged as it relates to all of these conditions that have precipitated at once in this historic moment.
Governor Newsom: (11:28)
We always maintain that golden older, you can’t control the weather, but you can prepare for the weather events. And let me just make this crystal clear. We failed to predict and plan these shortages and that’s simply unacceptable. I’m the governor. I am ultimately accountable and will ultimately take responsibility, have taken I assure you responsibility to immediately address this issue and move forward to make sure that simply never happens again here in the State of California. Began that process again shortly after I left you on Friday, worked throughout the weekend with our energy commission, with Cal ISO, our independent system operator, and the California Public Utilities Commission.
Governor Newsom: (12:13)
We’ve been working with businesses large and small, and we are working with experts across the spectrum to address the immediacy of this crisis, to understand the conditions that led up to it and ultimately to address the anxiety that each and every one of you are facing. And to make sure that we’d never come back in to this position again. So right now in California, we are currently and urgently deploying resources across the spectrum. And as I said, working to reduce our energy use. And I’ll ask you to participate in that in a moment, but let me first give you an overview of exactly what has occurred and what’s happened in terms of those efforts over the course of the last 48 hours. I signed an emergency proclamation that very specifically, very demonstrably directly shifts energy consumption in this state. We’re focused primarily on large energy users and we are shifting to their backup power, so they can utilize that power during the peak hours.
Governor Newsom: (13:15)
We identify the peak hours, roughly 3:00 PM, about to 9:00, 10:00 PM. Let’s say 3:00 to 10:00 are the peak hours. I can explain in a moment why those evening hours become the most precious in terms of our concerns, particularly as it relates to sun going down, the utilization of solar. The fact that while we’ve had some peak gust wind events across the state have been relatively mild. By the way, that’s a good thing from a fire suppression perspective. That’s unfortunate moment as it relates more broadly to addressing the episodic nature of the renewable portfolio of which we are prideful in the State of California, but vulnerable to in these conditions that I have stated. Number two-
Governor Newsom: (14:03)
And these conditions that I have stated. Number two, we have looked to focus on the shared power, the power rather, that we have stored as part of our PSPS protocols in the state. We’ve talked a lot in the last year about these public power shutoffs and the need to have protocols not just with PG&E in Northern California, but our other investor-owned utilities, what we refer to as the IOUs. There are new protocols, new procedures that are required of these IOUs as it relates to the utilization of stored energy and power for PSPS. We are going to allow for the utilization for non-PSPS purposes of that stored power pursuant to this emergency proclamation that I’ve put forward.
Governor Newsom: (14:47)
Accordingly, we’re working with ports up and down the State of California, interestingly to many of you, perhaps, large ships that come in on port, huge container volume, second to none in the United States, that comes in and out of the State of California, that’s the West Coast port utilize tremendous amount of energy, and so we’re working to reduce the consumption of that energy at the ports, to reduce ultimately the amount of energy being pulled off the grid. As I said, we’re working with major customers up and down the state, and consumers, some of the largest commercial consumers, as well as some well-established consumers that are brands in the state, from [inaudible 00:01:28], Tesla, and others that have been very helpful and accommodating in terms of putting out messages to their consumer base around the need to reduce usage.
Governor Newsom: (15:38)
We also are working to procure and bring online more energy from LADPW or DWP, getting support from the state water board, as it relates to getting more hydro online. We’re looking at peakers, these are peak generators called peaker plants, the vernacular of our energy experts, and getting them online. Basically putting all our energy to create more energy, all the tools in the toolkit to meet the needs of customers in the next 72 hours. But even with all of that, we are likely to fall short and we should see some episodic issues as it relates to supplying the coverage that you deserve and you demand. Accordingly, it goes without saying, you deserve and also demand what happened and the implications of what this means to the future. And that’s exactly what we’ve initiated over the course of the last 48 hours to understand exactly the relationship, the interrelationship between Cal-ISO, between the CPUC and the California Energy Commission. Energy Commission, just to put it in language most of you can understand, does the forecasting in terms of our energy needs.
Governor Newsom: (16:56)
ISO puts out criteria for what’s necessary in order to meet that forecast. And the PUC fundamentally focuses on procurement. So it’s a shared responsibility between those three agencies. None of us in the State of California are immune nor naive about the hots getting hotter, the dries getting dryer, the wets getting wetter. We have long recognized the consequences of climate change. We have long recognized it by also reconciling our responsibility as the largest state in the United States of America to do more and do better in terms of our low carbon green growth future. We are committed to radically changing the way we produce and consume energy and we are creating now and have more jobs in this green sector than we do in the fossil fuel space. So we see it as an economic imperative and we see it as a moral and ethical imperative as it relates to the kind of world we’re going to leave, the kind of state nation we’re going to leave to our kids and grandkids.
Governor Newsom: (18:01)
And we are not backing off on that commitment, quite the contrary. But in the process of the transition, in the process of shutting down, understandably the desire and need to shut down polluting gas plants, and a desire to go from old to the new. In that transition and the need to shut those down, comes the need to have more insurance, comes the need to recognize that there have been by definition demonstrably, in the last few days and what we expect over the next few days, gaps in terms of that reliability. We cannot sacrifice reliability as we move forward in this transition, and we’re going to be much more aggressive in focusing our efforts, and our intention in making sure that that is the case. We need to make sure that we have a demand-response system and we have reliability that meets the expectations that we have all forecasted around issues of climate change, and around the prospects that this is not the last “record-breaking” historic heat dome and experience that we will have in this state, or in this region, or in this nation or in our hemisphere, in our lifetime, quite the contrary.
Governor Newsom: (19:19)
And this is exactly what so many scientists have predicted for decades. It’s manifesting quite acutely here on the West Coast of the United States. Also manifesting in droughts, not just wildfires, and not just the issue of concerns around high quality, low cost, reliable energy for people that must have that support for their health, for our economic prosperity, and the like. So one thing I am certain of is that we will move forward with the kind of focus and diligence that’s required of us to meet our responsibility head-on, to guarantee protocols, processes, forecasting that’s more sober around the potency of solar, what it means when there’s higher humidity as we’ve experienced, and the impact that has on solar, what it means as it relates to our broader portfolio mix, our interdependence with imports, our current protocols with exports of energy to West Coast States, and our capacity on storage in particular that substantially needs to be improved. As technology is catching up, our efforts need to be advanced in this space.
Governor Newsom: (20:36)
But I am confident in our capacity to deal with that. And the reason I maintain that confidence is the work that we’ve been doing in the last year, particularly the work we have been doing with our largest public utilities in this country, the largest in the United States, PG&E but the other utilities to really map a future of reliability that looks very differently than today. And so we’ve been advancing goals. We’re now in the transition of that. And now we have to I think sober up to the reality that in this transition, we’re going to have to do more and be much more mindful in terms of our capacity to provide backup and insurance.
Governor Newsom: (21:18)
I am not pleased with what’s happened, I take a back seat to no one, nor are you. And if you are just on the sidelines, I can assure you you shouldn’t be pleased with the moment that we’re in here in the State of California. We’ll get to the bottom of it, and that’s why that investigation to what happens, and its implications for the future will be done swiftly and immediately, and we will lay out in detailed terms what we’re going to do to make sure this simply doesn’t happen again. That’s the certainty that we are committed to in this moment obviously of uncertainty that you have been put into. And so with that, I want you to know that that is our resolve and our commitment, but it also is our request of you, to help us mitigate this moment by doing what you can. And many of you are well aware living in the West Coast of the United States, particularly here in California, flex alerts, they happen quite often, and flex alerts are nothing more than what you see up here on the screen.
Governor Newsom: (22:22)
These are just encouraging you as an individual, as a business owner as well, to help participate. Sum total of individual actions in the aggregate is the total impact that we will have over the course of the next 72 hours to mitigate the impacts of de-energization that we’re likely to experience this evening and tomorrow evening in particular. By setting your AC to 78 degrees between the hours of three and 10:00 PM to cool your homes and offices overnight and in the early morning, to close those drapes to make sure that the windows aren’t open in the middle of the day at the peak of the heat, and also consider to the extent you can using major appliances in the off hours. Again, hours, not three to 10, but before 3:00 PM, after 10:00 PM, though recognize limitations of late night. But I also want to implore you, the impact of those decisions, washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers, and the like. Using those major appliances during those off hours can also help.
Governor Newsom: (23:29)
And as I reminded my two kids this morning as they were waking up, as they walked out, turn off those lights, when you walk out, something all of us can do just more generally. But all those things, these four things in particular, can really help us conserve energy and help us through this very challenging period of time.
Governor Newsom: (23:52)
Let me now turn to another challenge we have in the State of California related to the pandemic, COVID-19 and update you on what we have been discussing over the course of the last few weeks related to those backlog cases. We have adjudicated the positivity of over 295,000 cases that were in the backlog. We had a lot that were de-duplicated, so we were able to get a new numerator, denominator forgive me. Bottom-line is, we have 14,861 positive cases that we have put through our backlog, and as you know, we were able to clear it out, all of those backlog cases last week and the numbers we presented last week include all of the numbers you see up on the screen. So when we did that, we also made a commitment to you to go back to the county monitoring lists. Remember, the state, 58 counties, each county has its own unique conditions, unique circumstances, and challenges. Some parts of the state less impacted by COVID-19 than other parts of the state.
Governor Newsom: (25:05)
So we put out a criteria and a watchlist, what we call a monitoring list, and we update that on a consistent basis. We will also update you on those new counties that have entered on our monitoring list, and one county in particular that has dropped off the list, as we brought each and every one of these backlog cases to a specific point in time so that we could update not only you on the positivity rates, update you exactly on the impact that’s had within your respective county and the impact that has on the monitoring list. Here’s what the rate looked like before the – well, this is the backup, or the backlog, but this is the positivity rate, what it looked like before we put in all of those backlog cases. You can see on the blue line, those of you that may be watching, where we were before the update and the orange line is where we are post-update. It follows a similar trend. The numbers aren’t precise, but they’re not substantially off. 7.6 to 7.5 when you look back on July 25th, 7.2 versus 7% around the beginning of August.
Governor Newsom: (26:21)
But bottom-line is the trendline is as we asserted and as the hospitalization number and the ICU numbers suggested, and that’s an encouraging sign, again, even when you include the positivity rate with the backup. You can get a closer look here, and this looks more like an EKG chart than anything else, and this could confuse anybody, but you get a sense of where we were a little, we thought we were doing a little better when we announced a few weeks ago than we were, and it looked like, when you start adding all those backlogs, we’re looking a little worse. The bottom-line is we’re smoothing all of that and we have reconciled all of that. So where does that leave us? If you add all the backlog cases over a seven day average period, there are 9,446. Typical case number when you add the backlog over a seven day period. The numbers that we put out today are the latest numbers, 6,469 positive cases in the state. Those case numbers are high, but they are trending in the right direction.
Governor Newsom: (27:32)
Let me be more specific and more precise. We are now averaging close to 134,000 tests every single day here in the State of California. 133,632 is our average seven day daily number of tests we have conducted. The percentage of people that have been tested over the course of the last 14 days that have tested positive for COVID-19 is six.
Governor Newsom: (28:03)
…Days that have tested positive for COVID-19 is 6.5%. So our positivity rate over a 14-day period in the state of California is 6.5%. Accordingly, we’ve suggested this in the past and we’ve asserted it, but the positivity rate again, stabilizing and moving broadly in the right direction also connects the expectation that we’ll see hospitalization to continue to decline. The good news is they have been declining statistically, and as a consequence, we have experienced a 21% decline in hospitalizations over a 14-day period. So 6.5% positivity, all the backup numbers included, updated numbers on hospitalizations down 21% over a 14-day period. By the way, we’re now at 7% of our healthcare system capacity represented with COVID-19 positive patients, 7%.
Governor Newsom: (29:06)
As it relates to ICU admissions, we are down 16% over a two-week period. So again, hospitalizations as well as ICU admissions trending in the right direction. We now have, I think it’s roughly 19%. In fact, let me confirm that it is 19% of our ICU admissions are represented with COVID positive patients in our ICU healthcare capacity. But again, hospitalizations trending downward, ICU numbers now also trending downward along with the positivity rates here in the state. Let me update you on the monitoring list.
Governor Newsom: (29:49)
Last monitoring list you saw on August 3rd, and this was the 38 counties out of our 58 counties that were included. The new monitoring list we’re putting out today now has 42 counties on the list. Again, you have to be on the list for three plus days, or rather you appear on this list. As long as we see trends over a three-day period, you pull off if we see three days of trends holding stable as well. So we go from 38 counties to now 42 counties. Let’s get underneath, look at which counties were added and which county was removed. You’ll see at Amador and Mendocino counties were added, and this is the first date we went back to 7/25, and Amador was two days is on, Mendocino was two days on, officially went on that third day.
Governor Newsom: (30:45)
I want to just applaud the leadership in Mendocino. They didn’t wait for this updated information. They made modifications to their state home. I want to thank their health officer and their county board of supervisors among many others for their leadership in this space. So Amador, Mendocino. You see Inyo County, Calaveras and Sierra. Sierra just joined the list over the weekend, Calaveras on Thursday. Santa Cruz on Friday was removed from the list. So we’ve said this in the past, you’ve seen this in the past. This is a dynamic list. People come on, people come off. The numbers shift every single week. I anticipate this week the numbers to shift. Again, it looks like all things being equal and the latest reporting period, 24-hour reporting period, which we will have later this evening. It’s very likely San Diego will join the list of those counties removed.
Governor Newsom: (31:45)
So likely tomorrow, though we’ll update this, likely tomorrow that you see San Diego on that list. But Santa Cruz is currently the one county that was removed from the list. So this is updated monitoring list. I encourage people, you want to learn more about the monitoring list, want to get under the hood and understand the criteria that leads to how you end up on it and how you end up off it. Go to COVID19.ca.gov, COVID19ca.gov. For more information, you can toggle and actually go to your county and learn with some specificity exactly how your county’s doing and get a sense the prospect, based on the trend lines, the encouraging trend lines on hospitalizations, ICUs, and positivities, case rates, the likelihood that your county may soon come off that monitoring list.
Governor Newsom: (32:40)
As always, we can’t ever have a presentation where we don’t encourage you to continue to do one of the most important things you can do to mitigate the spread of this disease, also mitigate the prospects that we’ll have to extend these monitoring counties and see our schools reopened, that impact can be substantially made by your commitment and resolve right to wearing a mask. Physically distancing, always one of the most important non-pharmaceutical interventions that we can make and washing your hands, minimizing mixing where you can. So that is a slide very familiar to those that have taken the time to watch our presentations.
Governor Newsom: (33:25)
I want to just conclude by reminding you of how deadly this disease continues to be. Over the course of the last 14 days, we have averaged over a 14-day period the loss of 132 lives on any given day, which is just jaw dropping when you consider that. So our heart goes out to every single family that has been torn apart because of tragic loss of a loved one. I also want to extend just my personal respect, my deep, deep admiration. I had a privilege a few days ago to have a meeting with a number of doctors, a number of nurses, some ICU nurses that talked about being at wit’s end and how emotionally exhausted they are, not just physically exhausted they are, but nothing was more impactful to them and to me than the issue of loneliness that they described, with loved ones that are in an ICU intubated, likely to lose their lives, but cannot see a loved one, cannot see the hand reach out to say, “I love you and I’m going to miss you.”
Governor Newsom: (34:39)
The impact on that, the impact on them, so profound. I just want folks to know, none of us for the grace of God, any of us end up in that circumstance, end up on the other side of this equation. That’s why it is so important, it’s so important that we take the responsibility to do a little bit more and a little bit better with wearing masks and trying to do what we can to minimize mixing. They described, one of the nurses described buying extra iPhone so their loved ones can see their loved one in an ICU. The only a way they could see them is virtually. Others described, all but being there as… Well, the only ones swaddling a young child, singing to a young child because a COVID positive mother can’t even breastfeed, a COVID positive mother can’t even hug their child, that bonding experience, that human experience.
Governor Newsom: (35:43)
Forgive me for belaboring this, except to say, people are still dying from this pandemic. Don’t be misled by the 18 numbers or the 18 people that died today, that lost their lives. We send to see these on Monday, the data from the weekend. 132 human beings losing their lives on an average day over the course of the last 14 days. This disease is deadly. Take it, please, please, take it seriously. If we do continue to, we will be back in a modified world, at least in the short run until we have a vaccine and higher quality therapeutics, and we can do that much sooner, much faster if we continue the course that we’re currently on. So with that, happy of course to take any questions.
Speaker 1: (36:28)
Alexei Koseff, SF Chronicle.
Alexei Koseff: (36:33)
Hi, governor. Shortly before you spoke, the head of the ISO essentially pointed the finger at the PUC for this short fall. Do you share that assessment? Is there anything you’re planning to do, direct to the PUC to do to make sure that we have enough energy in the coming days and weeks, and is there anything as big as infrastructure upgrades or new projects that you would support to make sure that happens?
Governor Newsom: (37:03)
Well, all of the above. We’re looking to do exactly that. That’s why the emergency proclamation went out. That’s exactly what the emergency proclamation calls for. We are working to get more peaker plants online. We’re working to get more hydro online. We’re looking to mitigate some of our exports. We’re looking at scouring more imports into the state. We’re looking at those backup generators that I noted on the PSPS protocol. So all of the above, we’re looking at the demand management side. We’re looking at the efficiency side. State of California is taking leadership in terms of its own state operations, and we’ve asked the private sector, commercial as well as through the flex alerts individuals to do the same.
Governor Newsom: (37:46)
As it relates to shared responsibility, I noted that we have the California Energy Commission. We have an independent system operator and we have the California Public Utilities Commission. I sent a letter to all three because of the frame of shared responsibility. We’re not pointing fingers right now, but we are, I am taking responsibility to address this issue in the immediate, to the extent we can mitigate the impacts over the next 72 hours and then address these things fundamentally, foundationally and once and for all to stay on top of this, to be transparent with you and others, and to own a responsibility and resolve to make sure we’re not back in this position. So that’s my focus. We’ve got an investigation moving forward, and in real time, we’ll let you and others know what we determine.
Speaker 1: (38:35)
Carlos Granda, ABC 7.
Carlos Granda: (38:40)
Hi, good morning, governor. Good afternoon. Should the people have been told about this ahead of time? Because you had mentioned that there wasn’t enough warning. People couldn’t prepare for this, for the power outages. What can you tell people now because it could happen at any time?
Governor Newsom: (38:53)
Now, we’re telling them, it’s exactly what this presentation is all about. It’s why we have a flex alert out. We were, as I said a moment ago, notified around this time on Friday, made a presentation, though, it was an interrupted presentation on the flex alert on Friday. You’re exactly right. People should have been told sooner, and that is exactly the purpose of the investigation, the purpose of understanding exactly what led to these conditions and how we can mitigate it. Let me just say briefly that we did something else as it relates to notifications, and that is the IOUs, the investor-owned utilities, three of the largest well-known, San Diego, [Sempra 00:39:40], of course here, Northern California, PG&E.
Governor Newsom: (39:43)
We have protocols and procedures that we worked very hard with the PUC and worked with the respective IOUs on the PSPS protocols. I know, IOUs, PUC, PSPS, if I haven’t lost you, perhaps because you’re not paying attention, it’s a way of expressing this. We have notification protocols that have been approved to address the size and duration of impacts as it relates to de-energization associated with wildfire mitigation state. Over the weekend, we have demanded of the large investor on utilities to initiate those same protocols that they otherwise did not have in place as it relates to this larger event, but to put in place in this event as a way of addressing your appropriate question, and I think the appropriate critique that some have expressed including myself.
Speaker 1: (40:40)
Laurel Rosenhall, CalMatters.
Laurel Rosenhall: (40:43)
Thank you so much. I have a question about paid family leave, which you’ve staked out as a priority issue. In June, you reached an agreement with legislative leaders to pass a law giving workers job protections if they take family leave. It passed the Senate, but it’s still pending in the assembly. I’m just wondering if you see any challenges in getting this passed in the next two weeks? Given the emphasis you put on the issue, what are you doing to ensure it passes?
Governor Newsom: (41:08)
We’re working hard to ensure it passes. We’re committed, not just interested in that process. We’ve made tremendous progress. It was part of a broader commitment that we have with the legislature. I have all the confidence, we’ll get it done by the end of this legislative calendar.
Speaker 1: (41:22)
Theresa Harrington, EdSource.
Theresa Harrington: (41:26)
Hi, I was wondering about how these outages may be affecting distance learning in terms of the required instructional minutes and how attendance is being taken? Would the instructional minutes be given a waiver if there’s a power outage and would students be given excused absences?
Governor Newsom: (41:43)
Yeah. Well, let me get back to you in the details. Look, obviously, extenuating circumstances. We have to be flexible. We are not ideological and so that’s a right question. As a parent, it’s a question we’ve had, my wife and I, as it relates to people preparing for distance learning, but I want folks to know this, this is very temporary…
Governor Newsom: (42:03)
… preparing for distance learning. But I want folks to know this, this is very temporary. We’re expecting because of the magnitude of this weather event and the fact that this heat dome and this high pressure system is really set in on the West Coast of the United States, that we will start to move away. Temperatures may be hot, but not as hot, not as humid as we’ve seen. Conditions will present themselves after Wednesday where we could substantially mitigate this.
Governor Newsom: (42:29)
Again, these are not permanent conditions. The de-energization would likely occur in those later peak hours, not in the early morning instructional hours. But nonetheless, if there are extenuating circumstances, absolutely we’ll be open to making adjustments and being very mindful of the impacts, considerations you’ve set forth.
Speaker 2: (42:51)
Tom [inaudible 00:00:53], Mercury news.
Hi, Governor. The head of the ISO had said that they’d warned the public utilities commission about the prospect of power shortages of this sort years ago and somehow that was not heeded. Can you comment on that? Did you know that beforehand or did you just find that out?
Governor Newsom: (43:24)
Yeah. That’s exactly why we’re doing the investigation. We’ll have real transparency in that space. Well aware of that interaction. Again, there’s a shared responsibility here, three-legged stool as relates to energy in the state of California. The California Energy Commission are forecasting particularly with extreme weather events and our need to improve that process, those protocols, a framework of what’s necessary, protocols and procedures, the application of our energy policy at ISO. We’re investigating the same and the California Public Utilities Commission and the work they have done based on forecasts, based upon the application of these rules, as it relates to procurement is also being reviewed.
Governor Newsom: (44:10)
I’m very mindful, and I’ll just close, forgive me for being more long-winded in response to your question, I’m very mindful of the dynamics of energy policy, having spent the larger part of last year trying to address PG&E’s bankruptcy. We put together an advisory group to lay out the tenants of a more dynamic, more reliable, affordable dynamic dis-aggregated energy system here in the state of California. We have a consultant that laid out the parameters and guide rails of what that energy future would look like. I made a presentation along these lines on multiple occasions, and we are committed to address the immediacy of this challenge, but more over, the medium and longterm commitment and resolve to a green energy future maintains itself, but with a much more dynamic, responsible, accountable, and focused approach than we’ve seen over the course of the last number of years. That’s what the investigation will determine. That’s what this process ultimately will resolve.
Speaker 2: (45:23)
Taryn Luna, LA Times.
Taryn Luna: (45:26)
Governor, you said you didn’t know about the problem with the CalREDIE system when you disclose the decline numbers a couple of weeks ago. Now it sounds like you’re saying the state had failed to predict new plans for the current energy shortage and you’re ordering an investigation into it. Is there a communication problem within your administration, or …
Governor Newsom: (45:43)
Taryn Luna: (45:43)
Why are you not aware of and planning for these major issues?
Governor Newsom: (45:47)
Governing a state as large as ours, it’s difficult to predict everything that happens every single day. It’s ultimately my responsibility. I thank you for I think the appropriateness of the question, but I certainly have a responsibility when things do come to my attention and I’m being very transparent with you about when they did, which I think is important to take responsibility to fix them.
Speaker 2: (46:09)
[inaudible 00:04:10], Politico.
Speaker 3: (46:15)
Yes. Hi there, Governor. Thanks so much. I was wondering if you support grid mutualization? Excuse me. That was the concept that was introduced by Assemblymember Holden last year. It passed the assembly, but not the Senate. Supporters say that it could lead to better coordination of sharing electricity supplies across the West. Was wondering if you would be willing to talk with the labor unions that have historically been opposed to this concept?
Governor Newsom: (46:46)
Well, I have. I’ve been in constant contact going back to my time as lieutenant governor, when Governor Brown was exploring regionalization. Not only labor concerns, there’s some reliability concerns and there’s concerns, in full transparency without getting into the merits and demerits of regionalization, as it relates to the current makeup of FERC, the current administration in the White House in Washington, DC, and the conditions as it relates to PG&E as an entity, our IOUs generally coming out of bankruptcy and the need to address all of those issues together, including obviously the issues that have been raised in the last 48 hours.
Governor Newsom: (47:24)
The answer is, yes, we have been in active conversations. I have personally for number of years in this space, and it was the collective wisdom of legislative leaders, not just labor leaders, but the entire administration that in the midst of all of this, particularly with those large IOU questions because of the resulting bankruptcy of the largest utility in United States of America, PG&E that it was best to wait until the process completed itself, to get them out bankruptcy and to begin to stabilize our portfolio. That includes the importance of the IOUs as well as community choice aggregators.
Governor Newsom: (48:05)
Again, this is complicated. When I start talking about CCAs and FERC, again, I imagine most of you are rolling your eyes except to say that all of this is connected and regionalization is certainly one of those things that not only connects a broader regional grid in terms of the western states, but also connects to the broader conversation as we move forward.
Speaker 2: (48:30)
Elex Michaelson, Fox 11.
Elex Michaelson: (48:36)
Hi, Governor. In the midst of all this, there’s also a presidential campaign this weekend, a convention. On Thursday, you’re going to address the entire country on behalf of California. I’m wondering if you could give us a preview of what we can expect to hear from you and what you’re looking for this week?
Governor Newsom: (48:52)
Well, I appreciate that. No direct speech on Sunday, more of a engaged conversation with another well-known elected official, but I I’m honored and certainly humbled by the privilege of having that time and that moment to engage with someone I have tremendous respect for. You’ll learn more about that in the next few days. But more important than anything else, I look forward to the people of the United States learning more about Joe Biden, learning more about Kamala Harris, learning more about this historic moment in our nation’s history. Quite literally, forgive the Obama-ism, turn the page on the status quo and bring us to the lightness of a much brighter future.
Speaker 2: (49:42)
Final question. Tarryn Mento, KPBS.
Tarryn Mento: (49:47)
Hi, Governor. Thanks for taking my question. I’m calling from San Diego. Officials have said the region meets criteria to come off the list for at least five days now, so two more than the criteria set by you to be removed. Why the delay in confirming that for San Diego? Officials here are also telling us that businesses can’t open up when the region is confirmed off the list because the state hasn’t released new guidance. Can you clarify why previous guidance from earlier reopening isn’t acceptable and when you will release new guidance?
Governor Newsom: (50:16)
That’s right. July 13th, we put out guidance that specifically stipulated that nothing subsequent in terms of reopenings can occur until the state health officer concurs. You’re correct in that assessment. However, respectfully, we have data. We have crunched that data. As I anticipate, or as I stated, we anticipate San Diego to come off tomorrow. I imagine that’s good news from perspective of the county. In fact, I think it’s extraordinarily good news, speaking on behalf, not just of the county but also of the state of California. We’re very encouraged by that we want to continue to see progress not just in San Diego, but all across the state. I want to also acknowledge the progress made in Santa Cruz.
Governor Newsom: (51:03)
But as members of some of the elected family members we’ve been in contact with in Santa Cruz made the point, the dynamics between the counties and the nature of this pandemic and the spread and the like, the dynamic nature is that these things aren’t necessarily permanent unless we adapt to modifications and address the transmission, which continues to be very, very challenging for all of us, not only in this state, but across the country. But San Diego, we anticipate come off tomorrow based upon our analysis of the numbers and we look forward to making that announcement.
Governor Newsom: (51:42)
Well, with that, thank you all for allowing me the privilege of your time and look forward to coming back, updating you on our efforts. I encourage folks on the Flex The Power to really take advantage of this opportunity, not only to participate in helping us mitigate this very challenging next 72 hours and the impact of this heat wave and this heat dome that now is sitting on top of the great state of California, but also in the process potentially save some dollars. I noted my wife this morning that just making a five degree difference in your temperature setting could save 20% of your cooling costs. Every incremental thing you do in this space not only will help us in the aggregate to reduce the impacts of the de-energization over the next 72 hours, but also can impact the bottom line in terms of your household expenses.
Governor Newsom: (52:39)
As always, please wear a mask, trying to avoid mixing as much as possible, continue to physically distance. Thank you, again, from the bottom of my heart for all the incredible work you’ve done as a state. It’s demonstrably reflected in those hospitalization numbers, those ICU numbers and a positivity rate at 6.5%. We need to get it below 5% and we need to see it below 5% for a period of time. We’re moving in the right direction. Let’s continue the good work. Thank you all.