Back-Up Generators Must Be Standing By on January 1

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As if COVID isn’t bad enough, wildfires and power shut offs continue to impact large areas of California. Assembly Bill 2421, recently signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom, requires expedited permitting of applications to install emergency standby generators for macro cell towers. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2021, and will remain in effect until January 1, 2024.

The bill states: “Legislature finds and declares that the installation of emergency standby generators at wireless telecommunications facility sites as set forth in this section has a significant public safety impact in California and is a matter of statewide concern. Fragmented and lengthy permitting requirements could delay these public safety deployments by many months and in some cases could prevent them altogether.” 

According to the bill, the emergency standby generator shall be located not more than 100 feet from the physical structure of the macro cell tower or base station, and be rated below 50 horsepower. It must have a double-wall storage tank, not to exceed 300 gallons, and be mounted on a concrete pad.

If a local agency’s initial reviewing authority denies an application, and the decision is appealed, it is unclear whether the appeal must also be completed within the 60-day deadline.

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