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AB-2515 Electrical and gas corporations.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 02/14/2018 09:00 PM
AB2515:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 2515


Introduced by Assembly Member Reyes

February 14, 2018


An act to amend Section 454 of, and to add Section 913.13 to, the Public Utilities Code, relating to public utilities.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2515, as introduced, Reyes. Electrical and gas corporations.
Existing law authorizes the Public Utilities Commission to fix the rates and charges for every public utility, and requires that those rates and charges be just and reasonable. With certain exceptions, whenever any electrical, gas, heat, telephone, water, or sewer system corporation files an application to change any rate for the services or commodities furnished by it, existing law requires that the corporation furnish its customers notice of its application to the commission for approval of the new rate. The notice is required to state the amount of the proposed rate change expressed in both dollar and percentage terms for the entire rate change and for each customer class.
This bill would specifically require electrical and gas corporations to include in those rate change applications and the customer notice estimated cumulative and annual rate and bill impacts on each customer class served by the corporation.
Existing law prohibits any street railroad corporation, gas corporation, electrical corporation, telegraph corporation, telephone corporation, water corporation, or sewer system corporation from beginning the construction of, among other things, a line, plant, or system, or of any extension thereof, without having first obtained from the commission a certificate that the present or future public convenience and necessity require or will require that construction.
This bill would require an electrical or gas corporation to include in an application, other than a general rate case application, to authorize an investment greater than $50,000,000 an estimate of the total revenues to be collected from ratepayers over the life of the investment, including a separate itemization of the amount of profits and taxes in the total revenues.
Existing law requires the commission to submit various reports to the Legislature, legislative committees, and the Governor, as specified.
This bill would require the commission to annually report in writing to the Legislature information pertaining to pending and previously approved changes to the revenue requirements of electrical and gas corporations. The bill would require the report to include, separately for each electrical and gas corporation, information regarding pending requests for a change to a corporation’s revenue requirement, and commission decisions and resolutions made within the previous 5 years that affected a corporation’s revenue requirement. The bill would require the commission to make the report publicly available in written form upon written request by a member of the public and on the commission’s Internet Web site.
Under existing law, a violation of the Public Utilities Act or any order, decision, rule, direction, demand, or requirement of the commission is a crime.
Because the provisions of this bill are within the act, these provisions would impose a state-mandated local program by creating a new crime.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 454 of the Public Utilities Code is amended to read:

454.
 (a) Except as provided in Section 455, a public utility shall not change any rate or so alter any classification, contract, practice, or rule as to result in any new rate, except upon a showing before the commission and a finding by the commission that the new rate is justified. Whenever any electrical, gas, heat, telephone, water, or sewer system corporation files an application to change any rate, other than a change reflecting and passing through to customers only new costs to the corporation which that do not result in changes in revenue allocation, for the services or commodities furnished by it, the corporation shall furnish to its customers affected by the proposed rate change notice of its application to the commission for approval of the new rate. This notice requirement does not apply to any rate change proposed by a corporation pursuant to an advice letter submitted to the commission in accordance with commission procedures for this means of submission. The procedures for advice letters may include provision for notice to customers or subscribers on a case-by-case basis, as determined by the commission. The corporation may include the notice with the regular bill for charges transmitted to the customers within 45 days if the corporation operates on a 30-day billing cycle, or within 75 days if the corporation operates on a 60-day billing cycle. If more than one application to change any rate is filed within a single billing cycle, the corporation may combine the notices into a single notice if the applications are separately identified. The notice shall state the amount of the proposed rate change expressed in both dollar and percentage terms for the entire rate change as well as for each customer classification, a brief statement of the reasons the change is required or sought, and the mailing, and if available, the email address of the commission to which any customer inquiries may be directed regarding how to participate in, or receive further notices regarding the date, time, or place of, any hearing on the application, and the mailing address of the corporation to which any customer inquiries relative to the proposed rate change may be directed.
(b) (1) For a water corporation with more than 2,000 service connections, the notice required in subdivision (a) shall include estimated rate impacts on the various customer classes of the corporation. The commission may require the corporation to inform customers in a separate letter or through a bill insert, at the corporation’s discretion, of the outcome of the general rate case, within 60 days if the corporation operates on a 30-day billing cycle, or within 90 days if the corporation operates on a 60-day billing cycle, of the commission’s final decision, including the approved rates and the approved capital projects that will subsequently be executed by way of an advice letter.
(2) For an electrical or gas corporation, an application to change a rate, as described in subdivision (a), and the notice required by subdivision (a) shall include estimated rate and bill impacts on each customer class served by the corporation, including both of the following:
(A) The cumulative rate and bill impacts for the full period covered by the rate change application.
(B) For a rate change application that covers a period longer than a year, annual rate and bill impacts for each year covered in the application. If the period covered is longer than five years, the notice shall include, at a minimum, the first five years.
(c) An electrical or gas corporation shall include in an application, other than a general rate case application, to authorize an investment greater than fifty million dollars ($50,000,000) an estimate of the total revenues to be collected from ratepayers over the life of the investment, including a separate itemization of the amount of profits and taxes in the total revenues.

(c)

(d) The commission may adopt rules it considers reasonable and proper for each class of public utility providing for the nature of the showing required to be made in support of proposed rate changes, the form and manner of the presentation of the showing, with or without a hearing, and the procedure to be followed in the consideration thereof. Rules applicable to common carriers may provide for the publication and filing of any proposed rate change together with a written showing in support thereof, giving notice of the filing and showing in support thereof to the public, granting an opportunity for protests thereto, and to the consideration of, and action on, the showing and any protests filed thereto by the commission, with or without hearing. However, the proposed rate change does not become effective until it has been approved by the commission.

(d)

(e) The commission shall permit individual public utility customers and subscribers affected by a proposed rate change, and organizations formed to represent their interests, to testify at any hearing on the proposed rate change, except that the presiding officer need not allow repetitive or irrelevant testimony and may conduct the hearing in an efficient manner.

SEC. 2.

 Section 913.13 is added to the Public Utilities Code, to read:

913.13.
 (a) The commission shall annually report in writing to the Legislature clear and concise information pertaining to pending and previously approved changes to the revenue requirements of electrical and gas corporations. The commission shall provide the information in a separate section or document for each electrical and gas corporation in the state and shall include in the report, at a minimum, all of the following information:
(1) Pending requests by a corporation for a change to its revenue requirement made through application or advice letter. For each pending request identified, the report shall include all of the following:
(A) The corporation’s requested dollar and percentage change to the revenue requirement for each year in which a change is requested.
(B) The corporation’s estimate of the average bill impact for residential customers for each year in which a revenue requirement change is requested. Bill impacts shall be shown in dollars per year and as a percentage of the average annual residential bill.
(C) A hyperlink to resources providing further information about the corporation’s pending request on the commission’s Internet Web site.
(2) Commission decisions and resolutions made within, at a minimum, the previous five years that affected a corporation’s revenue requirement. For each decision and resolution identified, the report shall include all of the following:
(A) The dollar and percentage change to the corporation’s revenue requirement for each year in which the revenue requirement was changed.
(B) The commission’s estimate of the average bill impact for residential customers for each year in which a revenue requirement is changed. Bill impacts shall be shown in dollars per year and as a percentage of the average annual residential bill.
(C) A hyperlink to resources providing further information about each decision or resolution on the commission’s Internet Web site.
(b) For any corporation that provides both electric and gas service, the commission shall provide the information reported pursuant to subdivision (a) separately for electric and gas service.
(c) The commission shall make the report submitted pursuant to subdivision (a) publicly available as follows:
(1) In written form upon written request by a member of the public.
(2) On the commission’s Internet Web site, prominently displayed to promote access by the public. The information shall include separately hyperlinked documents for each electrical and gas corporation.

SEC. 3.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.