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AB-672 Utility services.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 01/03/2018 02:16 PM
AB672:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  January 03, 2018
Amended  IN  Assembly  May 01, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 672


Introduced by Assembly Member Jones-Sawyer

February 15, 2017


An act to amend Section 1882.2 Sections 1882 and 1882.1 of the Civil Code, relating to utility services.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 672, as amended, Jones-Sawyer. Utility services.
Existing law authorizes an electrical, gas, or water corporation, or any electrical, gas, or water system operated by a public agency, to bring a civil action for damages against any person who commits, authorizes, solicits, aids, abets, or attempts, among other things, the diversion of utility services by any means whatsoever. Existing law authorizes the utility to recover as damages 3 times the amount of actual damages, plus the cost of the suit and reasonable attorney’s fees, in any civil action brought pursuant to these provisions.
This bill would authorize a defendant that prevails upon judgment to recover reasonable attorney’s fees and costs of the suit from the utility. instead authorize a civil action for damages against a person who intentionally and knowingly commits, authorizes, solicits, aids, abets, or attempts, among other things, the diversion of utility services. The bill would define “aids” and “abets” to mean intentionally, knowingly, and substantially assisting another in performing an act that violates these provisions.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 1882 of the Civil Code is amended to read:

1882.
 Unless the context requires otherwise, the following definitions govern the construction of this title:
(a) “Aids” and “abets” mean to intentionally, knowingly, and substantially assist another in performing an act that is prohibited by Section 1882.1.

(a)

(b) “Customer” means the person in whose name a utility service is provided.

(b)

(c) “Divert” means to change the intended course or path of electricity, gas, or water without the authorization or consent of the utility.

(c)

(d) “Person” means any individual, a partnership, firm, association, limited liability company, or corporation.

(d)

(e) “Reconnection” means the commencement of utility service to a customer or other person after service has been lawfully discontinued by the utility.

(e)

(f) “Tamper” means to rearrange, injure, alter, interfere with, or otherwise to prevent from performing normal or customary function.

(f)

(g) “Utility” means any electrical, gas, or water corporation as those terms are defined in the Public Utilities Code and includes any electrical, gas, or water system operated by any public agency.

(g)

(h) “Utility service” means the provision of electricity, gas, water, or any other service or commodity furnished by the utility for compensation.

SEC. 2.

 Section 1882.1 of the Civil Code is amended to read:

1882.1.
 A utility may bring a civil action for damages against any a person who intentionally and knowingly commits, authorizes, solicits, aids, abets, or attempts any of the following acts:
(a) Diverts, or causes to be diverted, utility services by any means whatsoever.
(b) Makes, or causes to be made, any connection or reconnection with property owned or used by the utility to provide utility service without the authorization or consent of the utility.
(c) Prevents any utility meter, or other device used in determining the charge for utility services, from accurately performing its measuring function by tampering or by any other means.
(d) Tampers with any property owned or used by the utility to provide utility services.
(e) Uses or receives the direct benefit of all, or a portion, of the utility service with knowledge of, or reason to believe that, the diversion, tampering, or unauthorized connection existed at the time of the use, or that the use or receipt, was without the authorization or consent of the utility.

SECTION 1.Section 1882.2 of the Civil Code is amended to read:
1882.2.

(a)In a civil action brought pursuant to Section 1882.1, the utility may recover as damages three times the amount of actual damages, if any, plus the cost of the suit and reasonable attorney’s fees.

(b)If a defendant in a civil action brought pursuant to Section 1882.1 prevails upon judgment, the defendant may recover reasonable attorney’s fees and costs of the suit, if any, from the utility.