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. 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.
This bill would make the Administrative Adjudication Code of Ethics applicable to administrative law judges of the commission. Except for in adjudication cases, the bill would require the commission, before instituting a 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 the proceeding, including those who are likely to benefit from, and those who are potentially subject to, a decision in that proceeding. 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.
(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 would require the commission to develop, publish, and annually update a report that contains certain specified information, as provided, and would expand the requirement that the workplan, as part of that report, 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 the report 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.
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.
(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
begin delete describeend delete 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 delete The bill would require this information to be included in the report described in paragraph (4).end delete
(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:
(a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the
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
P5 1Open Meeting Act (Article 9 (commencing with Section 11120)
2of Chapter 1 of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government
3Code) against the Public Utilities Commission must do so by filing
4a petition for writ of mandamus in the Supreme Court or the court
5of appeal and may not do so by filing an action for injunctive relief
6in the superior court.
7(2) The intent of the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act is that
8actions of state agencies be taken openly and that their deliberation
9be conducted openly.
10(3) The people’s right to remain informed so that they may
11retain control over the instruments of government that they have
12created is not less of a right for some agencies than for other
13agencies, nor shall the people’s ability to enforce the Bagley-Keene
14Open Meeting Act be more hampered for some agencies than for
16(4) The duties, responsibilities, and actions of the Public Utilities
17Commission affect the well-being of current and future generations
18and the public interest and principles of fundamental fairness and
19due process of law require that the commission conduct its affairs
20in an open, objective, and impartial manner, free of undue influence
21and the abuse of power and authority.
22(b) It is the intent of the Legislature that the Public Utilities
23Commission should be subject to the judicial review provisions
24of the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act.
Section 305 of the Public Utilities Code is amended
The Governor shall designate a president of the
28commission from among the members of the commission. The
29president shall preside at all meetings and sessions of the
Section 306 of the Public Utilities Code is amended
(a) The office of the commission shall be in the City and
34County of San Francisco. The office shall always be open, legal
35holidays and nonjudicial days excepted. The commission shall
36hold its sessions at least once in each calendar month in the City
37and County of San Francisco or the City of Sacramento. The
38commission may also meet at such other times and in such other
39places as may be expedient and necessary for the proper
40performance 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
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
Section 307 of the Public Utilities Code is amended
(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.
Section 308 of the Public Utilities Code is amended
(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.
Section 311.5 of the Public Utilities Code is amended
(a) (1) Prior to commencement of any meeting at which
22commissioners vote on items on the public agenda, the commission
23shall make available to the public copies of the agenda, and upon
24request, any agenda item documents that are proposed to be
25considered by the commission for action or decision at a
27(2) In addition, the commission shall publish the agenda, agenda
28item documents, and adopted decisions in a manner that makes
29copies of them easily available to the public, including publishing
30those documents on the Internet. Publication of the agenda and
31agenda item documents shall occur on the Internet at the same
32time as the written agenda and agenda item documents are made
33available to the public.
34(b) The commission shall publish and maintain the following
35documents on the Internet:
36(1) Each of the commission’s proposed and alternate proposed
37decisions and resolutions, until the decision or resolution is adopted
P8 1(2) Each of the commission’s adopted decisions and resolutions.
2The publication shall occur within 10 days of the adoption of each
3decision or resolution by the commission.
4(3) The then-current version of the commission’s general orders
5and Rules of Practice and Procedure.
6(4) Each of the commission’s rulings. The commission shall
7maintain those rulings on its Internet Web site until final
8disposition, including disposition of any judicial appeals, of the
9respective proceedings in which the rulings were issued.
10(5) A docket card that lists, by title and date of filing or issuance,
11all documents filed and all decisions or rulings issued in those
12proceedings, including the public versions of all prepared written
13testimony and advice letter filings, protests, and responses. The
14commission shall maintain the docket card until final disposition,
15including disposition of any judicial appeals, of the corresponding
17(c) The commission shall make the following information
18available on the Internet:
19(1) Information on how members of the public and ratepayers
20can gain access to the commission’s ratemaking process and to
21information regarding the specific matters to be decided.
22(2) Information on the operation of the office of the public
23advisor established in Section 321 and how the public advisor can
24connect members of the public to persons responsible for specific
25cases and matters to be decided.
Section 321.6 of the Public Utilities Code is amended
(a) The commission shall develop, publish, and annually
29update a report that contains all of the following information:
30(1) A workplan that describes in clear detail the scheduled
31proceedings and other decisions that may be considered by the
32commission during the calendar year.
33(2) Performance criteria for the commission and executive
34director as well as an evaluation of the performance of the
35executive director during the previous year based on the criteria
36established in the prior year’s workplan.
37 (3) An accounting of its transactions and proceedings for the
38preceding year, together with other facts, suggestions, and
39recommendations that it deems of value to the people of the state.
40The accounting shall include the activities that the commission
P9 1has taken, and plans to take, to reduce the costs of, and the rates
2for, water and energy, including electricity, to improve the
3competitiveness of the state’s industries, including agriculture,
4and to the extent possible, shall include suggestions and
5recommendations for the reduction of those costs and rates.
6 (4) An accounting of the commission’s timeliness in resolving
7cases, information on the disposition of applications for rehearings,
8and the days that commissioners presided in hearings. The report
9shall include the number of scoping memos issued in each
10proceeding and the number of orders issued extending the statutory
11deadlines pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 1701.2, for all
12adjudication cases, and pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section
131701.5, for all ratesetting or quasi-legislative cases.
14(5) A description of activities undertaken and processes
15instituted to both solicit the input of customers from diverse regions
16of the state in ratesetting and quasi-legislative proceedings and to
17process that input in a way to make it usable in commission
18decisionmaking. The report shall describe successes and challenges
19in this process, the effect of resource constraints, and efforts to be
20made during the calendar year to further the goal of increased
22 (b) (1) The commission shall submit the annual report required
23pursuant to subdivision (a) to the Governor and Legislature no
24later than February 1 of each year.
25(2) The commission shall post the report in a conspicuous area
26of its Internet Web site and shall have a program to disseminate
27the information in the report using computer mailing lists to provide
28regular updates on the information to those members of the public
29and organizations that request that information.
The president of the commission shall annually appear
32before the appropriate policy committees of the Senate and
33Assembly to present the annual report of the commission required
begin delete this section.end delete
(a) When the federal National Transportation Safety
38Board (NTSB) submits a safety recommendation letter concerning
39rail safety to the commission, the commission shall provide the
40NTSB with a formal written response to each recommendation no
P10 1later than 90 days after receiving the letter. The response shall
2state one of the following:
3(1) The commission’s intent to implement the recommendations
4in full, with a proposed timetable for implementation of the
6(2) The commission’s intent to implement part of the
7recommendations, with a proposed timetable for implementation
8of those recommendations, and detailed reasons for the
9commission’s refusal to implement those recommendations that
10the commission does not intend to implement.
11(3) The commission’s refusal to implement the
12recommendations, with detailed reasons for the commission’s
13refusal to implement the recommendations.
14(b) If the NTSB issues a safety recommendation letter
15concerning any commission-regulated rail facility to the United
16States Department of Transportation, the Federal Transit
begin delete toend delete a commission-regulated rail operator, or begin delete toend delete the
18commission, or if the Federal Transit Administration issues a safety
19advisory concerning any commission-regulated rail facility, the
20commission shall determine if implementation of the
21recommendation or advisory is appropriate. The basis for the
22commission’s determination shall be detailed in writing and shall
23be approved by a majority vote of the commission.
24(c) If the commission determines that a safety recommendation
25made by the NTSB is appropriate, or that action concerning a
26safety advisory is necessary, the commission shall issue orders or
27adopt rules to implement the safety
begin delete recommendationsend delete
28 or advisory as soon as practicable. In
29implementing the safety recommendation or advisory, the
30commission shall consider whether a more effective, or equally
31effective and less costly, alternative exists to address the safety
32issue that the recommendation or advisory addresses.
33(d) Any action taken by the commission on a safety
34recommendation letter or safety advisory shall be reported
35annually, in detail, to the Legislature with the report required by
36Section 321.6. Any correspondence from the NTSB indicating that
37a recommendation has been closed following an action that the
38NTSB finds unacceptable shall be noted in the report required by
(a) By May 1 of each year, the commission shall prepare
5and submit to the policy and fiscal committees of the Legislature
6a written report summarizing the following information:
7(1) All electrical corporation revenue requirement increases
8associated with meeting the renewables portfolio standard, as
9defined in Section 399.12, including direct procurement costs for
10eligible renewable energy resources and renewable energy credits,
11administrative expenses for procurement, expenses incurred to
12ensure a reliable supply of electricity, and expenses for upgrades
13to the electrical transmission and distribution grid necessary to the
14delivery of electricity from eligible renewable energy resources
16(2) All cost savings experienced, or costs avoided, by electrical
17corporations as a result of meeting the renewables portfolio
19(3) All costs incurred by electrical corporations for incentives
20for distributed and renewable generation, including the
21self-generation incentive program, the California Solar Initiative,
22and net energy metering.
23(4) All cost savings experienced, or costs avoided, by electrical
24corporations as a result of incentives for distributed and renewable
26(5) All pending requests by an electrical corporation seeking
27recovery in rates for renewable, fossil fuel, and nuclear
28 procurement costs, research, study, or pilot program costs.
29(6) The decision number for each decision of the commission
30authorizing recovery in rates of costs incurred by an electrical
31corporation since the preceding report.
32(7) Any change in the electrical load serviced by an electrical
33corporation since the preceding report.
34(8) The efforts each electrical corporation is taking to recruit
35and train employees to ensure an adequately trained and available
36workforce, including the number of new employees hired by the
37electrical corporation for purposes of implementing the
38requirements of Article 16 (commencing with Section 399.11) of
39Chapter 2.3, the goals adopted by the electrical corporation for
40increasing women, minority, and disabled veterans trained or hired
P12 1for purposes of implementing the requirements of Article 16
2(commencing with Section 399.11) of Chapter 2.3, and, to the
3extent information is available, the number of new employees
4hired and the number of women, minority, and disabled veterans
5trained or hired by persons or corporations owning or operating
6eligible renewable energy resources under contract with an
7electrical corporation. This paragraph does not provide the
8commission with authority to engage in, regulate, or expand its
9authority to include, workforce recruitment or training.
10(b) The commission may combine the information required by
11this section with the reports prepared pursuant to Article 16
12(commencing with Section 399.11) of Chapter 2.3.
(a) Notwithstanding subdivision (g) of Section 454.5
27and Section 583, no later than May 1 of each year, the commission
28shall release to the Legislature the costs of all electricity
29procurement contracts for eligible renewable energy resources,
30including unbundled renewable energy credits, and all costs for
31utility-owned generation approved by the commission. The first
32report shall include all costs commencing January 1, 2003.
33Subsequent reports shall include only costs for the preceding
35(1) For power purchase contracts, the commission shall release
36costs in an aggregated form categorized according to the year the
37procurement transaction was approved by the commission, the
38eligible renewable energy resource type, including bundled
39renewable energy credits, the average executed contract price, and
40average actual recorded costs for each kilowatthour of production.
P14 1Within each renewable energy resource type, the commission shall
2provide aggregated costs for different project size thresholds.
3(2) For each utility-owned renewable generation project, the
4commission shall release the costs forecast by the electrical
5corporation at the time of initial approval and the actual recorded
6costs for each kilowatthour of production during the preceding
8(b) This section does not require the release of the terms of any
9individual electricity procurement contracts for eligible renewable
10energy resources, including unbundled renewable energy credits,
11approved by the commission. The commission shall aggregate
12data to the extent required to ensure protection of the confidentiality
13of individual contract costs even if this aggregation requires
14grouping contracts of different energy resource type. The
15commission shall not be required to release the data in any year
16when there are fewer than three contracts approved.
17(c) The commission may combine the information required by
18this section with the report prepared pursuant to Section
begin delete 910, as
19added by Chapter 1 of the First Extraordinary Session of the
20Statutes of 2011.end delete
(a) Beginning February 1, 2016, the commission shall
25annually publish a report that includes all investigations into gas
26or electric service safety incidents reported, pursuant to commission
27requirements, by any gas corporation or electrical corporation. The
28report shall succinctly describe each safety investigation concluded
29during the prior calendar year and each investigation that remains
30open. The categories within the description shall include the month
31of the safety incident, the reason for the investigation, the facility
32type involved, and the owner of the facility.
33(b) The commission shall include in its
begin delete work planend delete
34 required pursuant Section
begin delete 321.6,end delete a summary of the staff
35safety investigations concluded during the prior calendar year and
36the staff safety investigations that remain open for any gas
37corporation or electrical corporation, with a link to the Internet
38Web site with the report that contains the information required
39pursuant to subdivision (a).
(a) When the federal National Transportation Safety
24Board (NTSB) submits a safety recommendation letter concerning
25gas pipeline safety to the commission, the commission shall provide
26the NTSB with a formal written response to each recommendation
27not later than 90 days after receiving the letter. The response shall
28state one of the following:
29(1) The commission’s intent to implement the recommendations
30in full, with a proposed timetable for implementation of the
32(2) The commission’s intent to implement part of the
33recommendations, with a proposed timetable for implementation
34of those recommendations, and detailed reasons for the
35commission’s refusal to implement those recommendations that
36the commission does not intend to implement.
37(3) The commission’s refusal to implement the
38recommendations, with detailed reasons for the commission’s
39refusal to implement the recommendations.
P16 1(b) If the NTSB issues a safety recommendation letter
2concerning any commission-regulated gas pipeline facility to the
3United States Department of Transportation, the federal Pipeline
4and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), a gas
begin delete toend delete the commission, or the PHMSA issues an
6advisory bulletin concerning any commission-regulated gas
7pipeline facility, the commission shall determine if implementation
8of the recommendation or advisory is appropriate. The basis for
9the commission’s determination shall be detailed in writing and
10shall be approved by a majority vote of the commission.
11(c) If the commission determines that a safety recommendation
12made by the NTSB is appropriate or that action concerning an
13advisory bulletin is necessary, the commission shall issue orders
14or adopt rules to implement the safety
begin delete recommendationsend delete
15 or advisory as soon as practicable. In
16implementing the safety recommendation or advisory, the
17commission shall consider whether a more effective, or equally
18 effective and less costly, alternative exists to address the safety
19issue that the recommendation or advisory addresses.
20(d) Any action taken by the commission on a safety
21recommendation letter or advisory bulletin shall be reported
22annually, in detail, to the Legislature with the report required by
23Section 321.6. Any correspondence from the NTSB that indicates
24that a recommendation of the NTSB has been closed following an
25action that the NTSB finds unacceptable shall be noted in the report
26required by Section 321.6.
Section 1701 of the Public Utilities Code is amended
(a) All hearings, investigations, and proceedings shall
31be governed by this part and by rules of practice and procedure
32adopted by the commission, and in the conduct thereof the technical
33rules of evidence need not be applied. No informality in any
34hearing, investigation, or proceeding or in the manner of taking
35testimony shall invalidate any order, decision or rule made,
36approved, or confirmed by the commission.
37(b) Notwithstanding Section 11425.10 of the Government Code,
38Articles 1 through 15, inclusive, of Chapter 4.5 (commencing with
39Section 11400) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government
40Code do not apply to a hearing by the commission under this code.
P17 1The Administrative Adjudication Code of Ethics (Article 16
2(commencing with Section 11475) of Chapter 4.5 of Part 1 of
3Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code) shall apply to
4administrative law judges of the commission.
Section 1711 is added to the Public Utilities Code,
Where feasible and appropriate, except for adjudication
9cases, before instituting a proceeding on its own motion, the
10commission shall seek the views of those who are likely to be
11affected, including those who are likely to benefit from, and those
12who are potentially subject to, a decision in that proceeding. The
13commission shall demonstrate its efforts to comply with this section
14in the text of the order instituting the proceeding.
Section 1759 of the Public Utilities Code is amended
(a) No court of this state, except the Supreme Court and
19the court of appeal, to the extent specified in this article, shall have
20jurisdiction to review, reverse, correct, or annul an order or decision
21of the commission or to suspend or delay the execution or operation
22thereof, or to enjoin, restrain, or interfere with the commission in
23the performance of its official duties, as provided by law and the
24rules of court.
25(b) The writ of mandamus shall lie from the Supreme Court and
26from the court of appeal to the commission in all proper cases as
27prescribed in Section 1085 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
28(c) This section does not apply to the following actions, which
29may be brought in superior court:
30 (1) An action brought against the commission to enforce the
31requirements of the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act (Article 9
32(commencing with Section 11120) of Chapter 1 of Part 1 of
33Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code).
34(2) An action arising from the California Public Records Act
35(Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 6250) of Division 7 of
36Title 1 of the Government Code) or to review a determination
37made under subdivision (c) of Section 6253 of the Government