The Tuolumne Utilities District (TUD or District) was notified by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) that funding in the amount of $297,202 has been allocated to TUD from a 2020-21 Community Power Resiliency grant.
The grant funds will assist the District to purchase and add much-needed backup power generation for critical water and wastewater infrastructure to continue reliable operations during power outages. “Providing water during times of high fire danger and power stoppages is a critical safety priority for TUD. This was definitely a team effort and a great example of TUD saving thousands of local dollars by applying for state funding for the generators that minimize the hardship and disruption of water delivery during a power outage,” states Barbara Balen, President of the TUD Board of Directors. The District has struggled to deliver uninterrupted water and sewer services during the widespread PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events since the first PSPS event covering the District’s entire service area in 2019. “Access to these funds to purchase additional generators increases the District’s responsiveness and reliability of water and wastewater services during PSPS events and emergencies,” states Edwin R. Pattison, General Manager. To better manage operations during uncertain PSPS events, TUD created response teams across its various departments and purchased and rented $200,000 of additional power generation in 2020 using ratepayer dollars to supply backup power to its 12 water treatment plants, 55 pump stations, and 29 sewer lift stations to ensure reliable operations during PSPS events and emergencies. These Cal OES grant funds extend TUD’s ability and leverages ratepayer dollars to ensure ongoing reliable service during the worst of times.
TUD staff completed an application through Cal OES for the Community Power Resiliency Allocation to Special Districts in October 2020, and Cal OES announced the District’s grant request to enhance its resiliency against power shutoff events was approved on March 12, 2021.
TUD, which is a Special District agency, appreciates the efforts of the California Special District’s Association (CSDA) for working with the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services in order to advocate for special districts to be included in community resiliency funding. Through CSDA, $20 million in state budget allocations was dedicated to help districts better prepare for continuity of services when the power goes out due to public safety power shutoffs (PSPS) or other outages.