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

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Date Published: 04/29/2019 02:00 PM
SB584:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  April 29, 2019
Amended  IN  Senate  March 27, 2019

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, 764.7, and 764.9 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 amended, 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, Rule 20A, to provide financial assistance in the form of credits 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 rule, direction, demand, or requirement of the commission is a crime.
This bill would require the commission to require electrical corporations, by July 1, 2020, 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 a Tier 3 High Fire-Threat District or wildland urban interface area. Fire Threat Districts. The bill would require the commission to direct electrical corporations to reallocate credits provided to a jurisdiction under the Rule 20A program for purposes of those conversion projects in Tier 3 High Fire-Threat Districts and wildland urban interface areas, projects, as specified. The bill would authorize the commission to require electrical corporations to replace overhead electrical infrastructure in a Tier 3 High Fire-Threat Fire Threat District or wildland urban interface area that is destroyed as a result of a fire caused by overhead electrical infrastructure with underground electrical infrastructure. infrastructure if the commission makes specified determinations.
Because certain of the above provisions would be in the act, and a violation of an order action 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 an unspecified amount annually from the fund to the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to provide grants to local jurisdictions undertaking conversion projects in Tier 3 High Fire Threat Districts 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 in Tier 3 High Fire Threat Districts, as determined by the Public Utilities Commission, pursuant to Section 764.5 of the Public Utilities Code.
(b) Moneys provided to a local jurisdiction for a project pursuant to this section shall not exceed 15 percent of a the project’s total costs.
(c) In awarding grants pursuant to this section, the department shall give preferences to projects based on fire risk determined by assessing the following factors within the project area: project proposals with the following attributes:
(1) History of fire. The project area has a history of wildfires.
(2) Population size. The project area has a high population density.
(3) Vegetation. The project area has fuel conditions that create an increased risk of wildfires.
(4) Limited The project area has limited ingress and egress routes.
(5) The local jurisdiction has demonstrated efforts to mitigate its wildfire risks, including by imposing and enforcing rules intended to reduce flammable vegetation and other fuel sources.
(6) The local jurisdiction has demonstrated efforts to improve ingress and egress routes.
(7) The local jurisdiction has demonstrated efforts to prepare for emergencies, including preparatory efforts relating to evacuation procedures, communications, first responders, and critical infrastructure.
(8) The local jurisdiction has adopted a local assessment to fund the replacement of overhead electrical infrastructure with underground electrical infrastructure.
(9) The local jurisdiction has demonstrated its financial need, as defined by the department.
(10) The Public Utilities Commission has determined that replacing overhead electrical infrastructure with underground electrical infrastructure in the project area is a preferred method to reduce the risk of wildfires to that area and would enhance electrical reliability.

SEC. 2.

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

764.5.
 (a) (1) The commission, in a new or existing proceeding, shall require each electrical corporation, by July 1, 2020, to develop and administer programs a program to provide matching funds to local jurisdictions for conversion projects projects, consistent with Electric Tariff Rule 20 allocations, to replace overhead electrical infrastructure with underground electrical infrastructure in a Tier 3 High Fire-Threat District or wildland urban interface area, Fire Threat Districts, as determined by the commission.
(2) Programs developed and administered pursuant to this subdivision shall require a local jurisdiction to adopt a conversion program and establish an underground utility district to qualify for funding.
(b) (1) (A) The Each program shall require an the electrical corporation to provide matching funds, equaling 50 percent of the total project costs, to a local jurisdiction upon approval of an application by the local jurisdiction for an eligible project. A project shall be eligible only if the commission has determined that replacing overhead electrical infrastructure with underground electrical infrastructure in the project area is feasible, is a preferred method to reduce the risk of wildfires in that area, and would enhance electrical reliability.
(B) A local jurisdiction may use credits provided pursuant to the California Overhead Conservation Program, Rule 20A, and may borrow up to five years of future credit allocations pursuant to that program to fund its share of the total project costs.
(2) Upon completion of the project, the local jurisdiction shall authorize the electrical corporation to access and shall have use of the infrastructure for the provision of electrical services to the electrical corporation’s customers.
(3) The program of each electrical corporation shall authorize the use of design-build authority consistent with the general intent and requirements applicable to design-build authority under that electrical corporation’s Rule 15 program.
(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 may require an electrical corporation to replace overhead electrical infrastructure in a Tier 3 High Fire-Threat District or wildland urban interface area, Fire Threat District, as determined by the commission, that is destroyed as a result of a fire caused by overhead electrical infrastructure with underground electrical infrastructure. infrastructure if the commission has determined that doing so is feasible, is a preferred method to reduce the risk of wildfires, and would enhance electrical reliability.
(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.

 Section 764.9 is added to the Public Utilities Code, to read:

764.9.
 (a) For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:
(1) “Active jurisdiction” means a jurisdiction that is actively participating in the a program developed pursuant to Section 764.5.
(2) “Inactive jurisdiction” means a jurisdiction that has not undertaken or completed a project under the California Overhead Conversion Program, Rule 20A, since 2010 and is not actively participating in the a program developed pursuant to Section 764.5.
(b) Within two years of the development of programs pursuant to Section 764.5, the commission shall direct an electrical corporation to reallocate unused credits provided under the California Overhead Conversion Program, Rule 20A, from an inactive jurisdiction to an active jurisdiction. jurisdiction if the commission has confirmed that the inactive jurisdiction does not plan to use the unused credits.

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 a Tier 3 High Fire-Threat District or wildland urban interface area, Fire Threat District, thereby reducing the risks of wildfire caused by that infrastructure, it is necessary for this measure to take effect immediately.