Amended in Assembly June 24, 2015

Amended in Senate May 6, 2015

Amended in Senate April 14, 2015

Senate BillNo. 48


Introduced by Senator Hill

December 18, 2014


An act to amend Sections 305, 306, 307, 308,begin insert 311.5,end insert 321.6, 1701, and 1759 of, and to addbegin delete Sections 309.8 andend deletebegin insert Sectionend insert 1711 to, the Public Utilities Code, relating to the Public Utilities Commission.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

SB 48, as amended, Hill. Public Utilities Commission.

(1) The California Constitution establishes the Public Utilities Commission, with jurisdiction over all public utilities. The California Constitution grants the commission certain general powers over all public utilities, subject to control by the Legislature, and authorizes the Legislature, unlimited by the other provisions of the Constitution, to confer additional authority and jurisdiction upon the commission that is cognate and germane to the regulation of public utilities. Existing law requires the Governor to designate the president of the commission from among its members and requires the president to direct the executive director, the attorney, and other staff of the commission, except for the Office of Ratepayer Advocates. Existing law authorizes the executive director and the attorney to undertake certain actions if directed or authorized by the president, except as otherwise directed or authorized by vote of the commission.

This bill would repeal the requirement that the president direct the executive director, the attorney, and other commission staff. The bill would delete the authority of the president to direct or authorize the executive director and attorney to undertake certain actions, thereby requiring that they be directed or authorized to undertake those actions by the commission.

(2) The Public Utilities Act provides that the office of the commission be in the City and County of San Francisco, that the office always be open, legal holidays and nonjudicial days excepted, that the commission hold its sessions at least once in each calendar month in the City and County of San Francisco, and authorizes the commission to also meet at those other times and places as may be expedient and necessary for the proper performance of its duties.

This bill would require that the commission hold its sessions at least once in each calendar month in the City and County of San Francisco or the City of Sacramento and would require that the commission hold no less than 6 sessions each year in the City of Sacramento.

(3) The California Constitution authorizes the commission to establish its own procedures, subject to statutory limitations or directions and constitutional requirements of due process. Existing law requires the commission to determine whether a proceeding requires a hearing and, if so, to determine whether the matter requires a quasi-legislative, an adjudication, or a ratesetting hearing. For these purposes, quasi-legislative cases are cases that establish policy rulemakings and investigations which may establish rules affecting an entire industry, adjudication cases are enforcement cases and complaints except those challenging the reasonableness of any rates or charges, and ratesetting cases are cases in which rates are established for a specific company, including general rate cases, performance-based ratemaking, and other ratesetting mechanisms.begin insert Existing law requires the commission to publish and maintain certain documents on the Internet, including a docket card that lists all documents filed and all decisions or rulings issued in those proceedings, as provided.end insert

This bill would make the Administrative Adjudication Code of Ethics applicable tobegin delete adjudication hearingsend deletebegin insert administrative law judgesend insert of the commission. Except for in adjudication cases, the bill would require the commission, before institutingbegin delete an investigation orend deletebegin insert aend insert proceeding on its own motion, where feasible and appropriate, to seek the views of those who are likely to be affected by a decision in thebegin delete investigation orend delete proceeding, including those who are likely to benefit from, and those who are potentially subject to, a decision in thatbegin delete investigation orend delete proceeding.begin delete This bill would require the commission to post all prepared written testimony submitted in its formal proceedings on its Internet Web site.end deletebegin insert This bill would require the commission to include a docket card that lists the public versions of all prepared written testimony and advice letter filings, protests, and responses. The bill would require the commission to make additional information available on the Internet, including information on how members of the public and ratepayers can gain access to the commission’s ratemaking process.end insert

(4) The Public Utilities Act requires the commission to develop, publish, and annually update an annual workplan that does all of the following: (A) describes in clear detail the scheduled ratemaking proceedings and other decisions that may be considered by the commission during the calendar year, (B) include information on how members of the public and ratepayers can gain access to the commission’s ratemaking process and information regarding the specific matters to be decided, (C) include information on the operation of the office of the public adviser and identify the names and telephone numbers of those contact persons responsible for specific cases and matters to be decided, and (D) include a statement that specifies activities that the commission proposes to reduce the costs of, and rates for, energy, including electricity, and for improving the competitive opportunities for state agriculture and other rural energy consumers. The act requires the commission to submit the workplan to the Governor and Legislature by February 1 of each year.

This bill wouldbegin insert require the commission to develop, publish, and annually update a report that contains certain specified information, as provided, and wouldend insert expand the requirement that thebegin delete workplanend deletebegin insert workplan, as part of that report,end insert describe in clear detail the scheduled proceedings that may be considered by the commission during the calendar year to include all proceedings and not just ratemaking proceedings. The bill would additionally require that thebegin delete workplanend deletebegin insert reportend insert include performance criteria for the commission and executive director and evaluate the performance of the executive director during the previous year based on the criteria established in the prior year’s workplan.

begin insert

Existing law requires the commission to produce a statement that specifies the proposed activities of the commission in reducing the costs of, and rates for, energy, including electricity, as provided.

end insert
begin insert

This bill would delete this requirement.

end insert
begin insert

The bill would require the president of the commission to present the annual report to the appropriate policy committees of the Senate and Assembly, and the commission to post the report in a conspicuous area of its Internet Web site and disseminate the information in the report, as provided.

end insert

(5) The Public Utilities Act requires the commission to create, and annually submit to the Governor and Legislature by February 1, a report on the number of cases where resolution exceeded the time periods prescribed in scoping memos and the days that commissioners presided in hearings.

This bill would delete the requirement that the report include the number of cases where resolution exceeded the time periods prescribed in scoping memos and instead would require the report to describe the commission’s timeliness in resolving cases and include information on the disposition of applications for rehearings. The bill would require that the report include the number of scoping memos issued in each proceeding and to include the number of orders issued extending the statutory deadlines for all adjudication, ratesetting, and quasi-legislative cases.begin insert The bill would require this information to be included in the report described in paragraph (4).end insert

(6) The California Constitution provides that the Legislature has plenary power to establish the manner and scope of review of commission action in a court of record. Existing law provides that only the Supreme Court and the court of appeal have jurisdiction to review, reverse, correct, or annul any order or decision of the commission or to suspend or delay the execution or operation thereof, or to enjoin, restrain, or interfere with the commission in the performance of its official duties.

This bill would authorize an action to enforce the requirements of the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act or the California Public Records Act to be brought against the commission in the superior court.

Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: no.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

P4    1

SECTION 1.  

(a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the
2following:

3(1) On June 3, 2014, California’s Fourth District Court of
4Appeal, in Disenhouse v. Peevey (2014) 226 Cal.App.4th 1096,
5held that an interested person desiring to enforce the Bagley-Keene
6Open Meeting Act (Article 9 (commencing with Section 11120)
P5    1of Chapter 1 of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government
2Code) against the Public Utilities Commission must do so by filing
3a petition for writ of mandamus in the Supreme Court or the court
4of appeal and may not do so by filing an action for injunctive relief
5in the superior court.

6(2) The intent of the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act is that
7actions of state agencies be taken openly and that their deliberation
8be conducted openly.

9(3) The people’s right to remain informed so that they may
10retain control over the instruments of government that they have
11created is not less of a right for some agencies than for other
12agencies, nor shall the people’s ability to enforce the Bagley-Keene
13Open Meeting Act be more hampered for some agencies than for
14other agencies.

15(4) The duties, responsibilities, and actions of the Public Utilities
16Commission affect the well-being of current and future generations
17and the public interest and principles of fundamental fairness and
18due process of law require that the commission conduct its affairs
19in an open, objective, and impartial manner, free of undue influence
20and the abuse of power and authority.

21(b) It is the intent of the Legislature that the Public Utilities
22Commission should be subject to the judicial review provisions
23of the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act.

24

SEC. 2.  

Section 305 of the Public Utilities Code is amended
25to read:

26

305.  

The Governor shall designate a president of the
27commission from among the members of the commission. The
28president shall preside at all meetings and sessions of the
29commission.

30

SEC. 3.  

Section 306 of the Public Utilities Code is amended
31to read:

32

306.  

(a) The office of the commission shall be in the City and
33County of San Francisco. The office shall always be open, legal
34holidays and nonjudicial days excepted. The commission shall
35hold its sessions at least once in each calendar month in the City
36and County of San Francisco or the City of Sacramento. The
37commission may also meet at such other times and in such other
38places as may be expedient and necessary for the proper
39performance of its duties, and for that purpose may rent quarters
P6    1or offices. The commission shall hold no less than six sessions
2each year in the City of Sacramento.

3(b) The meetings of the commission shall be open and public
4in accordance with the provisions of Article 9 (commencing with
5Section 11120) of Chapter 1 of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of
6the Government Code.

7In addition to the requirements of Section 11125 of the
8Government Code, the commission shall include in its notice of
9meetings the agenda of business to be transacted, and no item of
10business shall be added to the agenda subsequent to the notice in
11the absence of an unforeseen emergency situation. A rate increase
12shall not constitute an unforeseen emergency situation. As used
13in this subdivision, “meeting” shall include all investigations,
14proceedings, and showings required by law to be open and public.

15(c) The commission shall have a seal, bearing the inscription
16“Public Utilities Commission State of California.” The seal shall
17be affixed to all writs and authentications of copies of records and
18to such other instruments as the commission shall direct.

19(d) The commission may procure all necessary books, maps,
20charts, stationery, instruments, office furniture, apparatus, and
21appliances.

22

SEC. 4.  

Section 307 of the Public Utilities Code is amended
23to read:

24

307.  

(a) The commission may appoint as attorney to the
25commission an attorney at law of this state, who shall hold office
26during the pleasure of the commission.

27(b) The attorney shall represent and appear for the people of the
28State of California and the commission in all actions and
29proceedings involving any question under this part or under any
30order or act of the commission. If directed to do so by the
31commission, the attorney shall intervene, if possible, in any action
32or proceeding in which any such question is involved.

33(c) The attorney shall commence, prosecute, and expedite the
34final determination of all actions and proceedings directed or
35authorized by the commission, advise the commission and each
36commissioner, when so requested, in regard to all matters in
37connection with the powers and duties of the commission and the
38members thereof, and generally perform all duties and services as
39attorney to the commission that the commission may require of
40him or her.

P7    1

SEC. 5.  

Section 308 of the Public Utilities Code is amended
2to read:

3

308.  

(a) The commission shall appoint an executive director,
4who shall hold office during its pleasure. The executive director
5shall be responsible for the commission’s executive and
6administrative duties and shall organize, coordinate, supervise,
7and direct the operations and affairs of the commission and
8expedite all matters within the commission’s jurisdiction.

9(b) The executive director shall keep a full and true record of
10all proceedings of the commission, issue all necessary process,
11writs, warrants, and notices, and perform any other duties the
12commission prescribes. The commission may authorize the
13executive director to dismiss complaints or applications when all
14parties are in agreement thereto, in accordance with rules that the
15commission may prescribe.

16(c) The commission may appoint assistant executive directors
17who may serve warrants and other process in any county or city
18and county of this state.

begin delete19

SEC. 6.  

Section 309.8 is added to the Public Utilities Code, to
20read:

21

309.8.  

The commission shall post all prepared written testimony
22submitted in its formal proceedings on its Internet Web site.

end delete
23begin insert

begin insertSEC. 6.end insert  

end insert

begin insertSection 311.5 of the end insertbegin insertPublic Utilities Codeend insertbegin insert is amended
24to read:end insert

25

311.5.  

(a) (1) Prior to commencement of any meeting at which
26commissioners vote on items on the publicbegin delete agendaend deletebegin insert agenda,end insert the
27commission shall make available to the public copies of the agenda,
28and upon request, any agenda item documents that are proposed
29to be considered by the commission for action or decision at a
30commission meeting.

31(2) In addition, the commission shall publish the agenda, agenda
32item documents, and adopted decisions in a manner that makes
33copies of them easily available to the public, including publishing
34those documents on the Internet. Publication of the agenda and
35agenda item documents shall occur on the Internet at the same
36time as the written agenda and agenda item documents are made
37available to the public.

38(b) The commission shall publish and maintain the following
39documents on the Internet:

P8    1(1) Each of the commission’s proposed and alternate proposed
2decisions and resolutions, until the decision or resolution is adopted
3and published.

4(2) Each of the commission’s adopted decisions and resolutions.
5The publication shall occur within 10 days of the adoption of each
6decision or resolution by the commission.

7(3) The then-current version of the commission’s general orders
8and Rules of Practice and Procedure.

9(4) Each of the commission’s rulings. The commission shall
10maintain those rulings on its Internet Web site until final
11disposition, including disposition of any judicial appeals, of the
12respective proceedings in which the rulings were issued.

13(5) A docket card that lists, by title and date of filing or issuance,
14all documents filed and all decisions or rulings issued in those
15begin delete proceedings.end deletebegin insert proceedings, including the public versions of all
16prepared written testimony and advice letter filings, protests, and
17responses.end insert
The commission shall maintain the docket card until
18final disposition, including disposition of any judicial appeals, of
19the corresponding proceedings.

begin insert

20(c) The commission shall make the following information
21available on the Internet:

end insert
begin insert

22(1) Information on how members of the public and ratepayers
23can gain access to the commission’s ratemaking process and to
24information regarding the specific matters to be decided.

end insert
begin insert

25(2) Information on the operation of the office of the public
26advisor established in Section 321 and how the public advisor can
27connect members of the public to persons responsible for specific
28cases and matters to be decided.

end insert
29

SEC. 7.  

Section 321.6 of the Public Utilities Code is amended
30to read:

31

321.6.  

(a) The commission shallbegin delete do all of the following:end delete
32begin insert develop, publish, and annually update a report that contains all
33of the following information:end insert

34(1) begin deleteDevelop, publish, and annually update an annual end deletebegin insertA end insertworkplan
35that describes in clear detail the scheduled proceedings and other
36decisions that may be considered by the commission during the
37calendar year. begin delete The plan shall include, but is not limited to,
38information on how members of the public and ratepayers can gain
39access to the commission’s ratemaking process and information
40regarding the specific matters to be decided. The plan shall also
P9    1include information on the operation of the office of the public
2advisor and identify the names and telephone numbers of those
3contact persons responsible for specific cases and matters to be
4decided. The plan shall also include a statement that specifies
5activities that the commission proposes to reduce the costs of, and
6rates for, energy, including electricity, and for improving the
7competitive opportunities for state agriculture and other rural
8energy consumers. The plan shall also include performance criteriaend delete

9begin insert(2)end insertbegin insertend insertbegin insertPerformance criteriaend insert for the commission and executive
10directorbegin delete and shall evaluateend deletebegin insert as well as an evaluation ofend insert the
11performance of the executive director during the previous year
12based on the criteria established in the prior year’s workplan.begin delete The
13commission shall post the plan under the Official Documents area
14of its Internet Web site and shall develop a program to disseminate
15the information in the plan utilizing computer mailing lists to
16provide regular updates on the information to those members of
17the public and organizations which request that information.end delete

begin delete

18(2) Produce a complete accounting

end delete

19begin insert (3)end insertbegin insertend insertbegin insertAn accountingend insert of its transactions and proceedings for the
20preceding year, together with other facts, suggestions, and
21recommendations that it deems of value to the people of thebegin delete state
22and a statement that specifies the activities and achievements of
23the commission in reducing the costs of, and rates for, energy,
24including electricity, for state agriculture and other rural energy
25consumers.end delete
begin insert state.end insert

begin delete

26(3) Create a report describing the

end delete

27begin insert (4)end insertbegin insertend insertbegin insertAn accounting of theend insert commission’s timeliness in resolving
28cases, information on the disposition of applications for rehearings,
29and the days that commissioners presided in hearings. The report
30shall include the number of scoping memos issued in each
31proceeding and the number of orders issued extending the statutory
32deadlines pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 1701.2, for all
33adjudication cases, and pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section
341701.5, for all ratesetting or quasi-legislative cases.

begin insert

35(5) A description of activities undertaken and processes
36instituted to both solicit the input of customers from diverse regions
37of the state in ratesetting and quasi-legislative proceedings and
38to process that input in a way to make it usable in commission
39decisionmaking. The report shall describe successes and challenges
40in this process, the effect of resource constraints, and efforts to be
P10   1made during the calendar year to further the goal of increased
2public participation.

end insert
begin delete

3(4) Submit annually the plan, accounting, and report required
4by paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) to

end delete

5begin insert (b)end insertbegin insertend insertbegin insert(1)end insertbegin insertend insertbegin insertThe commission shall submit the annual report required
6pursuant to subdivision (a) toend insert
the Governor and Legislature no
7later than February 1 of each year.

begin insert

8(2) The commission shall post the report in a conspicuous area
9of its Internet Web site and shall have a program to disseminate
10the information in the report using computer mailing lists to
11provide regular updates on the information to those members of
12the public and organizations that request that information.

end insert
begin delete

13(b)

end delete

14begin insert(c)end insert The president of the commission shall annually appear before
15the appropriate policy committees of the Senate and Assembly to
16begin delete report on the annual workplan access guideend deletebegin insert present the annual
17reportend insert
of the commission required pursuant to this section.

begin delete

18(c) The president of the commission shall annually appear before
19the appropriate policy committees of the Senate and Assembly to
20report on the annual report of the commission on the commission’s
21timeliness in resolving cases and the days that commissioners
22presided in hearings.

end delete
23

SEC. 8.  

Section 1701 of the Public Utilities Code is amended
24to read:

25

1701.  

(a) All hearings, investigations, and proceedings shall
26be governed by this part and by rules of practice and procedure
27adopted by the commission, and in the conduct thereof the technical
28rules of evidence need not be applied. No informality in any
29hearing, investigation, or proceeding or in the manner of taking
30testimony shall invalidate any order, decision or rule made,
31approved, or confirmed by the commission.

32(b) Notwithstanding Section 11425.10 of the Government Code,
33Articles 1 through 15, inclusive, of Chapter 4.5 (commencing with
34Section 11400) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government
35Code do not apply to a hearing by the commission under this code.
36The Administrative Adjudication Code of Ethics (Article 16
37(commencing with Section 11475) of Chapter 4.5 of Part 1 of
38Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code) shall apply to
39begin delete adjudication proceedingsend deletebegin insert administrative law judgesend insert of the
40commission.

P11   1

SEC. 9.  

Section 1711 is added to the Public Utilities Code, to
2read:

3

1711.  

Where feasible and appropriate, except for adjudication
4cases, before institutingbegin delete an investigation orend deletebegin insert aend insert proceeding on its
5own motion, the commission shall seek the views of those who
6are likely to be affected, including those who are likely to benefit
7from, and those who are potentially subject to, a decision in that
8begin delete investigation orend delete proceeding. The commission shall demonstrate
9its efforts to comply with this section in the text of the order
10instituting thebegin delete investigation orend delete proceeding.

11

SEC. 10.  

Section 1759 of the Public Utilities Code is amended
12to read:

13

1759.  

(a) No court of this state, except the Supreme Court and
14the court of appeal, to the extent specified in this article, shall have
15jurisdiction to review, reverse, correct, or annulbegin delete anyend deletebegin insert anend insert order or
16decision of the commission or to suspend or delay the execution
17or operation thereof, or to enjoin, restrain, or interfere with the
18commission in the performance of its official duties, as provided
19by law and the rules of court.

20(b) The writ of mandamus shall lie from the Supreme Court and
21from the court of appeal to the commission in all proper cases as
22prescribed in Section 1085 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

23(c) This section does not apply tobegin delete an actionend deletebegin insert the following actions,
24which may be brought in superior court:end insert

25begin insert (1)end insertbegin insertend insertbegin insertAn actionend insert brought against the commission to enforce the
26requirements of the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act (Article 9
27(commencing with Section 11120) of Chapter 1 of Part 1 of
28Division 3 of Title 2 of the Governmentbegin delete Code) or theend deletebegin insert Code).end insert

29begin insert(2)end insertbegin insertend insertbegin insertAn action arising from theend insert California Public Records Act
30(Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 6250) of Division 7 of
31Title 1 of the Government Code),begin delete which action may be brought in
32the superior court.end delete
begin insert including to review a determination made under
33subdivision (c) of Section 6253 of the Government Code.end insert



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