After hundreds of thousands of Northern Californians endured a string of deliberate wildfire-safety blackouts last fall, state regulators created millions of dollars in rebates so the neediest of households could buy high-tech batteries to store up electricity.
The plan had a loophole, however, allowing well-heeled customers to take advantage of the rebates. In some cases, residents have been receiving cash to buy storage batteries for their vacation homes, according to officials with the Public Utilities Commission, which runs the program.
“We should have put tighter controls on this,” PUC Commissioner Liane Randolph said at an Oct. 8 commission meeting.
Now the PUC is scrambling to fix the program.
On Thursday, the PUC will vote on a proposal to overhaul the program by imposing income limits on applicants. The idea is to “direct our scarce resources to the customers with the greatest need,” said PUC Commissioner Clifford Rechtschaffen, who’s spearheading the