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AB-2431 Public Utilities Commission: proceedings: intervenor compensation.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 02/14/2018 09:00 PM
AB2431:v99#DOCUMENT

Corrected  March 09, 2018

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 2431


Introduced by Assembly Member Weber

February 14, 2018


An act to amend Section 1802 of the Public Utilities Code, relating to the Public Utilities Commission.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2431, as introduced, Weber. Public Utilities Commission: proceedings: intervenor compensation.
Under existing law, the Public Utilities Commission has broad regulatory authority pursuant to the California Constitution and the Public Utilities Act over public utilities, as defined. Existing law provides compensation for reasonable advocate’s fees, reasonable expert witness fees, and other reasonable costs for participation or intervention in a hearing or proceeding of the commission. Existing law specifies that no state, federal, or local government agency, publicly owned public utility, or entity that, in the commission’s opinion, was established or formed by a local government entity for the purpose of participating in a commission proceeding is eligible to receive that compensation, except as specified.
This bill would authorize public school districts, county offices of education, community college districts, or authorized representatives of those entities, to receive that compensation.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 1802 of the Public Utilities Code is amended to read:

1802.
 As used in this article:
(a) “Compensation” means payment for all or part, as determined by the commission, of reasonable advocate’s fees, reasonable expert witness fees, and other reasonable costs of preparation for and participation in a proceeding, and includes the fees and costs of obtaining an award under this article and of obtaining judicial review, if any.
(b) (1) “Customer” means any of the following:
(A) A participant representing consumers, customers, or subscribers of any electrical, gas, telephone, telegraph, or water corporation that is subject to the jurisdiction of the commission.
(B) A representative who has been authorized by a customer.
(C) A representative of a group or organization authorized pursuant to its articles of incorporation or bylaws to represent the interests of residential customers, or to represent small commercial customers who receive bundled electric service from an electrical corporation.
(2) “Customer” (A) Except as provided in subparagraph (B), “customer” does not include any state, federal, or local government agency, any publicly owned public utility, or any entity that, in the commission’s opinion, was established or formed by a local government entity for the purpose of participating in a commission proceeding.
(B) Notwithstanding subparagraph (A), a public school district, county office of education, or community college district, or an authorized representative of one of those entities, is a customer.
(c) “Expert witness fees” means recorded or billed costs incurred by a customer for an expert witness.
(d) “Eligible local government entity” means a city, county, or city and county that is not a publicly owned public utility that intervenes or participates in a commission proceeding for the purpose of protecting the health and safety of the residents within the entity’s jurisdiction following a catastrophic material loss suffered by its residents either in significant damage to infrastructure or loss of life and property, or both, as a direct result of public utility infrastructure.
(e) “Other reasonable costs” means reasonable out-of-pocket expenses directly incurred by a customer that are directly related to the contentions or recommendations made by the customer that resulted in a substantial contribution.
(f) “Party” means any interested party, respondent public utility, or commission staff in a hearing or proceeding.
(g) “Proceeding” means an application, complaint, or investigation, rulemaking, alternative dispute resolution procedures in lieu of formal proceedings as may be sponsored or endorsed by the commission, or other formal proceeding before the commission.
(h) “Significant financial hardship” means either that the customer cannot afford, without undue hardship, to pay the costs of effective participation, including advocate’s fees, expert witness fees, and other reasonable costs of participation, or that, in the case of a group or organization, the economic interest of the individual members of the group or organization is small in comparison to the costs of effective participation in the proceeding.
(i) “Small commercial customer” means any nonresidential customer with a maximum peak demand of less than 50 kilowatts. The commission may establish rules to modify or change the definition of “small commercial customer,” including use of criteria other than a peak demand threshold, if the commission determines that the modification or change will promote participation in proceedings at the commission by organizations representing small businesses, without incorporating large commercial and industrial customers.
(j) “Substantial contribution” means that, in the judgment of the commission, the customer’s presentation has substantially assisted the commission in the making of its order or decision because the order or decision has adopted in whole or in part one or more factual contentions, legal contentions, or specific policy or procedural recommendations presented by the customer. Where the customer’s participation has resulted in a substantial contribution, even if the decision adopts that customer’s contention or recommendations only in part, the commission may award the customer compensation for all reasonable advocate’s fees, reasonable expert fees, and other reasonable costs incurred by the customer in preparing or presenting that contention or recommendation.

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CORRECTIONS:
Digest—Vote Key—Page 1.
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