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SB-584 Electricity: undergrounding of electrical wires.(2019-2020)

SB584:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill No. 584


Introduced by Senator Moorlach

February 22, 2019


An act to add Section 718 to the Public Resources Code, and to add Sections 764.5 and 764.7 to, and to add Division 2.2 (commencing with Section 5600) to, the Public Utilities Code, relating to electricity, making an appropriation therefor, and declaring the urgency thereof, to take effect immediately.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 584, as introduced, Moorlach. Electricity: undergrounding of electrical wires.
(1) Under existing law, the Public Utilities Commission has jurisdiction over public utilities, including electrical corporations. Under its existing authority, the commission requires electrical corporations to implement the California Overhead Conversion Program to provide financial assistance to local governments to facilitate projects that are in the public interest and that remove overhead infrastructure, replacing it with infrastructure in underground trenches.
Under existing law, a violation of the Public Utilities Act or any rule, order, decision, or direction of the commission is a crime.
This bill would require the commission to require electrical corporations to develop and administer programs to provide matching funds to local jurisdictions for conversion projects to replace overhead electrical infrastructure with underground electrical infrastructure in tier 3 fire-threat districts. The bill would require electrical corporations to replace overhead electrical infrastructure in a tier 3 fire-threat district that is destroyed as a result of fire with underground electrical infrastructure.
This bill would, on January 1, 2020, establish the Wildfire Mitigation Oversight Board and require the board to adopt rules and regulations applicable to electrical corporations regarding measures to achieve the most effective mitigation of wildfire risks. The bill would require the commission to ensure electrical corporations are in compliance with those rules and regulations.
Because certain of the above provisions would be in the act, a violation of an order by the commission implementing the above provisions would be a crime, and therefore this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
(2) Existing law, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, designates the State Air Resources Board as the state agency charged with monitoring and regulating sources of emissions of greenhouse gases. The act authorizes the state board to include the use of market-based compliance mechanisms in regulating those emissions. Existing law requires all moneys, except for fines and penalties, collected by the state board as part of a market-based compliance mechanism to be deposited in the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund and to be available for appropriation.
This bill would, beginning with the 2019–20 fiscal year and ending with the 2023–24 fiscal year, appropriate $400,000,000 annually to the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to provide grants to local jurisdictions undertaking conversion projects to move electrical infrastructure underground, as described above, thereby making an appropriation.
(3) 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.
(4) This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.
Vote: 2/3   Appropriation: YES   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 718 is added to the Public Resources Code, to read:

718.
 (a) For the 2019–20 fiscal year to the 2023–24 fiscal year, inclusive, four hundred million dollars ($400,000,000) is hereby appropriated annually to the department from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to provide grants to local jurisdictions undertaking conversion projects pursuant to Section 764.5 of the Public Utilities Code.
(b) Moneys provided to a local jurisdiction pursuant to this section shall not exceed 15 percent of the local jurisdiction’s share of project costs.

SEC. 2.

 Section 764.5 is added to the Public Utilities Code, to read:

764.5.
 (a) The commission, in a new or existing proceeding, shall require electrical corporations to develop and administer programs to provide matching funds to local jurisdictions for conversion projects to replace overhead electrical infrastructure with underground electrical infrastructure in tier 3 fire-threat districts, as determined by the commission.
(b) (1) The program shall require an electrical corporation to provide matching funds to a local jurisdiction upon approval of an application by the local jurisdiction for an eligible project.
(2) Moneys awarded to a local jurisdiction shall not exceed 50 percent of the total costs of the project.
(3) Upon completion of the project, the local jurisdiction shall authorize the electrical corporation to access and use the infrastructure for the provision of electrical services to the electrical corporation’s customers.
(c) The commission shall authorize electrical corporations to recover the costs incurred pursuant to this section from their ratepayers on a nonbypassable basis.

SEC. 3.

 Section 764.7 is added to the Public Utilities Code, to read:

764.7.
 (a) The commission shall require an electrical corporation to replace overhead electrical infrastructure in a tier 3 fire-threat district, as determined by the commission, that is destroyed as a result of fire with underground electrical infrastructure.
(b) The commission may authorize the use of temporary overhead electrical infrastructure during the construction of the underground electrical infrastructure required pursuant to subdivision (a).
(c) The commission shall authorize an electrical corporation to recover the costs incurred pursuant to this section from its ratepayers on a nonbypassable basis.

SEC. 4.

 Division 2.2 (commencing with Section 5600) is added to the Public Utilities Code, to read:

DIVISION 2.2. Wildfire Mitigation Oversight Board

5600.
 (a) The Wildfire Mitigation Oversight Board is hereby established in state government.
(b) Notwithstanding any other law, the board shall develop and adopt rules and regulations applicable to electrical corporations regarding measures to achieve the most effective mitigation of wildfire risks.
(c) The commission shall ensure that electrical corporations are in compliance with the rules and regulations adopted pursuant to this section.

5601.
 This division becomes operative on January 1, 2020.

SEC. 5.

 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.

SEC. 6.

 This act is an urgency statute necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety within the meaning of Article IV of the California Constitution and shall go into immediate effect. The facts constituting the necessity are:
To expedite the process of replacing overhead electrical infrastructure with underground electrical infrastructure in tier 3 fire-threat districts, thereby reducing the risks of wildfire caused by that infrastructure, it is necessary for this measure to take effect immediately.