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ALJ/BMD/sid Mailed 1/27/2006
Decision 06-01-042 January 26, 2006
BEFORE THE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Order Instituting Rulemaking to update the Commission's policies and procedures related to electromagnetic fields emanating from regulated utility facilities.
(Filed August 19, 2004)
OPINION ON COMMISSION POLICIES ADDRESSING ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS EMANATING FROM REGULATED UTILITY FACILITIES
Today's decision affirms our "low-cost/no-cost," policy1 to mitigate EMF exposure for new utility transmission and substation projects. As a measure of low-cost mitigation, we continue to use the benchmark of 4% of transmission and substation project costs for EMF mitigation, and combine linked transmission and substation projects in the calculation of this 4% benchmark. In addition, this decision adopts rules and policies to improve utility design guidelines for reducing EMF, and provides for a utility workshop to implement these policies and standardize design guidelines.
In order that utilities may proceed with a workshop, we define and adopt EMF mitigation polices and rules which address underground transmission lines, application of the 4% mitigation benchmark to EMF priority classes, EMF mitigation modeling techniques, and the locations for measuring EMF mitigation. We also direct utilities to initiate standardized field reduction techniques and develop a table to reflect EMF reduction measures taken or rejected.
As stated in the rulemaking initiating this proceeding,2 at this time we are unable to determine whether there is a significant scientifically verifiable relationship between EMF exposure and negative health consequences. However, this decision directs the Commission's Energy Division to pursue and review all available studies regarding EMF, and to review scientific information and report on new findings. Should such studies indicate negative EMF health impacts, we will reconsider our EMF policies, and open a new rulemaking if necessary.
1 This terminology is used rather than "prudent avoidance" as it more clearly defines our purpose in addressing electromagnetic fields (EMF).
2 Order Instituting Rulemaking, (R.) 04-08-020, mimeo., p. 7.